By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Russ Amundson has been a cardiovascular technologist for eight years at St. Charles Bend.
Amundson is also one of over 150 medical technicians striking for fair wages, working conditions, and overtime.
“We’ve really paid our dues, we’ve worked our tails off for the community throughout COVID, and even before that,” Amundson said. “This has been a long time coming.”
Amundson says the hospital needs the expertise of each medical tech, and that he’s heard from other employees how it’s going on the inside.
“We’ve had our nurse friends and colleagues say that it’s just like a dead zone in there,” Amundson said. “There’s not a lot going on, they’re just kind of running bare bones.”
St. Charles tells Central Oregon Daily News they still plan to meet Wednesday with a federal mediator.
Radiation therapist Beatrice Redding-Walczyk will be on the medical techs’ negotiating team.
“We are ready to negotiate,” Redding-Walczyk said. “In fact, we will be going to negotiations tomorrow in our scrubs. So that if we get the fair contract we deserve, we are ready to go right to work.”
Redding-Walczyk says she definitely wants to negotiate appropriate overtime pay.
“During the summer, some of us are scheduled to work eight hours and then we end up working 12,” Redding-Walczyk said. “We don’t get overtime until that 12 hour mark.”
Redding-Walczyk claims St. Charles has deactivated the emails of those on strike, and has been told it is considered trespassing if they go on property.
She also claims that medical techs at other St. Charles locations, which are not part of the union and do not have employees on strike, have gotten raises.
“My guess would be that that’s the hospital trying to get them not to try to get a union in,” Redding-Walczyk said. “So that was kind of them doing that, but it was really a slap in the face to all of us.”
Redding-Walcyzk expects St. Charles to show up ready to end the strike Wednesday.
As for the medical techs, they say they’ll negotiate for as long as it takes and appreciate the community’s support.