St. Charles Health System and the Oregon Nurses Association are pleased to announce that the nurses at St. Charles Bend voted to ratify a new labor contract that will go into effect immediately. The nurses voted 77 percent in favor of the contract.
“We are pleased that the nurses strongly supported the new contract,” said Leslie Toll, caregiver and labor relations director for St. Charles. “Our management team and the ONA team worked incredibly hard to reach an agreement and to develop a contract that was both fair to the nurses and that would support the long-term goals of St. Charles Health System.”
Labor negotiations began at the Bend hospital campus in April and ended on July 23 when the negotiating teams came to a fully recommended tentative agreement on the contract. The contents of the contract were shared with bargaining unit members and a vote was held over a five-day period ending on Aug. 3.
“Both sides worked very hard to reach an agreement,” said Alison Hamway, ONA labor representative to the Bend nurses. “The ONA negotiating team unanimously recommended ratification, and we are pleased that the membership ratified the agreement by a substantial margin.”
Overall, the changes in the contract language will result in cost savings to the hospital system when it comes to health and welfare benefits, premium pay expenses and more. Because of these savings, the health system was able to offer a total 3.5 percent wage increase spread over the two-year contract to help retain its highly skilled nursing staff and to continue offering important health care services to the community.
“I want to thank everyone involved in the negotiating process for their commitment and willingness to work together to find solutions throughout some challenging conversations,” said James A. Diegel, FACHE, president and CEO of St. Charles Health System. “A 77 percent vote is an outstanding accomplishment. We continue to be grateful and appreciative of our nurses for the quality and professional care they provide to our patients and community.”