St. Charles Bend, union to call in mediator over contract

St. Charles Bend (Ore.) hospital and the union that represents its nurses are bringing in a federal mediator after 17 negotiation sessions over nearly five months have been unsuccessful in producing a contract, according to The Bulletin.

The mediator will help the hospital and the Oregon Nurses Association, which has 716 members at St. Charles Bend, address numerous issues such as pay increases, monthly health insurance costs, earned time off and disability coverage, according to the report.

The ONA's most recent contract expired July 1, and nurses have been working under the expired contract ever since. The new, three-year contract would cover 2016 and expire in 2018.

John Nangle, chairman of St. Charles Bend's ONA bargaining unit and a nurse in the hospital’s emergency department, told The Bulletin that the nurses' main concern is ensuring they're paid adequately and given enough breaks so the hospital doesn't have short staffing. 

In a statement, Rebecca Berry, St. Charles Health System's vice president of human resources, said both sides agreed a federal mediator would be the best way to move forward, according to the report.

"We are confident that we will be able to reach agreement on the few remaining items in the contract and are looking forward to continuing our strong working relationship with the ONA," she said.

Mediation sessions are scheduled for Sept. 1 and 2.


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