St. Charles health professionals union plan ‘informational picket’

Members of the health professionals union at St. Charles will hold an “informational picket” Sunday and Monday outside the hospital as the two sides work on a new labor contract.

The union and the hospital both stress the picket is not a strike or work stoppage.

“We respect our caregivers and their right to hold this informational picket,” said St. Charles Bend President Aaron Adams. “While we have made much progress on the contract over the past year, we have not yet reached a final agreement. We look forward to negotiating again in the near future.”

The hospital and Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals have been negotiating a first contract since last January. according to hospital spokeswoman Lisa Goodman.

The two organizations have met 28 times, including 23 times during the pandemic, and have made good progress toward a first agreement, Goodman said in a statement.  The primary outstanding issue is wages. St. Charles is awaiting a response from OFNHP on its last offer.

Union leaders say after spending the last year protecting the community from COVID, they are now asking for the respect of fair wages, benefits, and workplace safety provisions.

“We want our Bend neighbors and others throughout the region we serve to know that we will always put patients’ needs as our top priority,” said DeeDee Schumacher, a 40-year ultrasound technologist. “But the remaining contract issues could be resolved quickly if the hospital negotiators would recommit themselves to this important process.”

The union represents about 125 medical employees, including respiratory therapists, ultrasound technologists, certified surgical technicians, and many other essential staff, at the hospital.

 

 

 

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