St. Charles Health System received an official notice today from the Service Employees International Union Local 49 that it will hold a candlelight vigil near the St. Charles Bend facility on November 2.
The notice states, “We hereby notify you … of our intent to gather employees and community supporters for a candlelight rally … Participants at the rally may carry signs and engage in activities suggest as parading that could be deemed picketing for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act.”
St. Charles Health System leaders want the community to be aware that this rally is taking place and to know that this is not a strike. Hospital operations will continue as normal and patient care will not be compromised during this demonstration.
“We are continuing to bargain in good faith with the SEIU and have a series of negotiation meetings scheduled with a federal mediator throughout the month of November,” said Katy Vitcovich, senior vice president of human resources for St. Charles. “We are surprised that SEIU has chosen to take this action when we are still making progress at the table and continue to have very good dialogue about the issues we are negotiating.”
Recent flyers distributed by SEIU at St. Charles hospitals indicate that the vigil is being held because members of the bargaining unit feel they are not being paid fair wages. St. Charles has conducted comprehensive wage analyses that show caregivers are paid at competitive, market-based wages. In addition, the organization provides a robust benefits package to all employees.
“An individual caregiver pays only $38 per month in premium expenses for our medical and dental coverage. We have no deductible and very low co-pays,” Vitcovich said. “St. Charles pays more than $40 million a year to provide these benefits to our caregivers. We take our role as an employer and economic driver in our community seriously and we are proud of our wages and benefits.”
About St. Charles Health System
St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Oregon, owns and operates the St. Charles medical centers in Bend and Redmond, leases and operates Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Prineville and provides management services for Mountain View Hospital in Madras. SCHS is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 3,000 caregivers in Bend, Redmond and Prineville. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with SCHS to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.