Home Health and Hospice nurses at St. Charles in Bend have filed for a union election to join the Oregon Nurses Association, ONA announced Wednesday.
ONA claims that the move, which involves 39 nurses, comes after St. Charles declined voluntary recognition. Their contract runs out at the end of the year.
“We are disappointed that St. Charles refused to recognize our union but we are deeply committed to building a workplace where we can provide quality patient care with appropriate support and tools to ensure safety for everyone,” said Karin Arthur, RN, in a statement.
ONA says the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will set a date for the election in the next few weeks after a supermajority of nurses sent in union authorization cards.
ONA says the nurses want more say in decision making.
“St. Charles has experienced a lot of management instability and changes in priorities have meant many highly qualified staff have left the system. We don’t have the resources we need to adequately serve our patients, but we are expected to keep up the same high level of care. It’s not fair to our patients or health care providers,” said Cherie Iannucchi, RN, in a statement.
St. Charles provided this statement to Central Oregon Daily News:
“Today the Oregon Nurses Association filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to request a secret ballot union election. This election will decide if a majority of St. Charles’ Home Health, Hospice and Transitions Navigator registered nurses wish to be represented by this union as part of a new separate bargaining unit.
We recognize and respect the right of our employees, including our nurses, to freely choose whether they wish to be represented by a union. We also respect the National Labor Relations Board processes that allow our employees the opportunity to a participate in a secret ballot election following the NLRB’s review of the proposed bargaining unit. To ensure our nurses can exercise their full rights under the law with regard to representation, we declined to recognize a new bargaining unit without a secret ballot election as was requested by the ONA late Tuesday night.”
Home health nurses visit patients in their homes for follow-up care after they are discharged, ONA says, while hospice nurses visit the patents to assist with end-of-life care.
ONA says home health and hospice nurses are in a different classification than nurses who work within the walls of St. Charles.
Back in June, the Central Oregon Providers Network (COPN) filed for union representation. Nearly 300 St. Charles employees are members of COPN.