BEND, OR -- After more than six months of negotiations, union nurses at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend are expected to vote this week on a contract offer from management. It has been the lengthiest contract negotiation in decades. The Oregon Nurses Association represents 720 nurses at the Bend hospital, and they've have been working with an expired contract since July.
As recent as last week, an informal survey of the union membership showed overwhelming disapproval of what the hospital administration was offering at that time. But following last Thursday’s second mediation session, enough changes to that offer were made that the union leadership decided to take a revamped contract offer to the entire bargaining unit.
One of the main sticking points for the nurses is the issue of adequate staffing of nurses for what they consider reasonable patient loads.
This week's ratification vote will likely be a physical ballot vote with negotiating team members present for questions and discussion.