BEND, OR -- Contract negotiations between St Charles Bend and the Oregon Nurses Association continue. At a rally hosted by the union Tuesday, member of the negotiating team and Registered Nurse Megan Bovi told KBND News it was important to have a large show of support, “To actually see a group of people come out, it provides a much stronger feeling. And to show, you know what, we are not just numbers. We are actually faces, we are actually human beings, and we are here and we love our community.”
Bovi says there is an urgent need for a new contract, “We have been dealing with unsafe and unworkable for a very, very long time. It’s kind of sad that it’s taken the pandemic to really bring to light the unfortunate things that we are experiencing in our workplace. We need to start fighting and we need to start fighting right now.”
The nurses’ contract expired at the end of last year. The union’s contract priorities are competitive wages, safe staffing, and schedule security.
St. Charles Senior Nursing Director Julie Ostrom tells KBND News those priorities are being addressed, “We are extremely focused on recruitment and retention, especially in the nursing workforce. Yesterday (Monday), we announced our annual increases for all of our caregivers, including the $5 an hour across the board increase for the nurses.” Ostrom says the hospital bargaining team has offered more than 30 dates in the next two months to meet with the nurses, and shares the desire to get a contract as quickly as possible.
The fourth day of negotiations is scheduled for Wednesday, February 15th.