Sacred Heart physicians reach tentative labor agreement, cancel picket

Physicians at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Ore., and the hospital have reached a tentative agreement on a labor contract and are canceling an informational picket scheduled for June 23, The Register-Guard reports.

The physicians, who formed the Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association labor union in 2014, were planning to picket after more than a year of negotiations with hospital owner Vancounver, Wash.-based PeaceHealth did not produce a contract. However, an agreement was reached Tuesday after hours of discussion, David Schwartz, MD, a spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association, told The Register-Guard.

According to the report, the tentative agreement addresses the main issue that compelled Sacred Heart physicians to organize in 2014: when PeaceHealth took steps to outsource Sacred Heart's hospitalists unit to a private, for-profit agency.

Specifically, the tentative agreement would set up a Hospital Medicine Resource Council, with three union members and three administrators meeting monthly in the contract's first year, and every two months after the first year, to discuss such issues as patient loads and staffing, Dr. Schwartz told The Register-Guard.

Union members are slated to vote on the preliminary contract in the next week or so.

PeaceHealth officials declined to comment to The Register-Guard until the tentative agreement had been signed, which they expected to happen later Wednesday or Thursday.

The contract, if approved, would run through October 2017, according to the union.


More articles on workforce and labor management:

Dartmouth contract with New Hampshire Hospital set to expire: 5 things to know
Pomona Valley vote marks largest California hospital unionization in nearly 15 years
Brigham and Women's nurses set date for strike





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