BEND, OR -- St. Charles Health System administrators say they are working with a recruiting firm to prepare for a potential work stoppage by nurses at the Bend hospital, as labor talks drag on nearly four months after the previous contract expired. Although, both sides say they don’t want the bargaining process to lead to a strike.
In a statement obtained by KBND News, Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Robinson told caregivers, "We have a responsibility to ensure our hospitals are ready to provide safe patient care to our community at all times. As such, we have engaged an outside recruiting firm to help us prepare for a number of possibilities including a potential work stoppage. While we hope we won’t need their services, this is not an unusual step during the bargaining process. We absolutely believe we can come to an agreement on a contract that is fair and equitable for all involved."
Nurses and supporters rallied in Bend, Wednesday evening, in an effort to draw attention to what they says is a failure by the hospital to address staffing problems that impact patient safety that were uncovered by a 2017 state investigation. The Oregon Nurses Association organized the event at Third and Revere, and says those who took part, did so outside of work hours.