BEND, OR -- After more than six months of negotiations, including federal mediation, an agreement on a three-year contract has been reached between The Oregon Nurses Association and St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.
The nearly 720 ONA nurses have been working without a contract since July. After talks broke down two federal mediation session were held.
The nurses voted on the hospital’s latest proposal on Monday. John Nangle, with the union bargaining team, tells KBND, "We ratified our tentative agreement with 85% of the voting nurses voting yes." The contract calls for an 8.25% wage increase over the three-year contract. It also holds health insurance premiums where they are for the nurses.
Adequate staffing was an issue for the nurses and Nangle says he hopes that can now change. “I think that we, at this point, are happy with the contract that was agreed upon. One of our main issues was assuring the we ere going to have a qualified nursing staff maintain that, now and into the future. So sort of we see the ONA contract as an attraction and retention tool for nurses.” The new contract is retroactive to July, when the old contract expired.