Oregon hospital workers file strike notice

The union representing 156 technical employees at St. Charles Health System's St. Charles Bend (Ore.) hospital campus filed a strike notice Feb. 22, according to a hospital news release.

The strike of indefinite duration is set to begin March 4 unless an agreement is reached.

Hospital management and the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals have been in negotiations for more than a year but have not been able to fully resolve issues, including wage structure and cost-of-living increases, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting

"We were driven to do this by the hospital," labor organizer Sam Potter told the publication. "Our members have been waiting for and fighting for fair pay and a fair contract. We've waited long enough."

The hospital responded in a news release, expressing disappointment about the strike notice.

Aaron Adams, president of the St. Charles Bend and Redmond (Ore.) campuses, said:  "St. Charles and all of our caregivers have been at the forefront of treating our community members with COVID-19. Our organization is also deeply involved in running large-scale community vaccination clinics for three counties alongside our Deschutes County partners. While this strike notice cannot slow our efforts to meet these critical community needs, it just adds new — and unnecessary — challenges when our community needs us most."

The hospital said both sides had already agreed to meet March 10 with a federal mediator, and earlier bargaining dates of March 3, 4 or 5, were also under consideration when the strike notice was delivered. 

However, St. Charles "will now be required to direct its time to strike preparation rather than negotiations and will be unable to meet during the notice period," the hospital said.

St. Charles said its leaders also plan to file an unfair labor practice charge against the union with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the union of bad faith bargaining.

 

More articles on human resources:
Pennsylvania hospital, union must arbitrate dispute over nurse assignments, court rules
Nurses in California county's health system to strike Feb. 27
Oncologists sue Maryland hospital over lost privileges

 

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