Home health and hospice nurses from St. Charles Health System have voted to unionize, the Oregon Nurses Association announced Friday.
While the numbers from the Dec. 8 vote were not released, ONA said the vote was “overwhelming.”
ONA says the nurses want decision-making input.
“Forming a union provides us the opportunity to better advocate for our patients and ourselves,” said RN Cherie Iannucci in a statement. “We take care of people after they leave the hospital, to prevent them from being readmitted. Readmissions add to the strain that our hospitals face right now due to surging cases of RSV, COVID-19 and the flu.”
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ONA says nurses will determine their bargaining unit bylaws in the coming weeks and start contract negotiations.
The contract for nurses at St. Charles – Bend expires at the end of the year and they are already preparing for negotiations, ONA said.
The National Labor Relations Board supervised the election, according to ONA.
St. Charles responded with a statement.
“While we are disappointed in the outcome of the election, we respect the rights of our caregivers to be represented by a union and over the coming months, we will work with the union to reach a contract that meets both of our interests,” said Debbie Robinson, director of Home-Based Care. “The St. Charles Home Health, Hospice and Transitions programs are very special and we are proud to work with a team of professionals dedicated to ensuring a safe, secure environment for our patients and colleagues.”