St. Charles physicians withdraw unionization petition

Physicians, advanced practice providers and other caregivers within St. Charles Medical Group  have withdrawn their petition with the National Labor Relations Board for union representation.

The approximately 300 workers were initially seeking to be represented by Central Oregon Providers Network, which is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, in a petition filed in June. 

The NLRB had scheduled a union representation election, according to a Feb. 23 news release.  However, that election was canceled after the labor board received the request to withdraw the petition.

"We are eager to work with the new St. Charles leadership and are cautiously optimistic that during this six-month trial period they will deliver on their promise to continue to build a just culture organization that honors the vision to make patient care the top priority and embraces provider input and well-being," Les Dixon, MD, an emergency department physician at St. Charles northern campuses and member of the COPN organizing committee, said in the release.

St. Charles Medical Group is the employed provider arm of Bend, Ore.-based St. Charles Health System. Professionals within the medical group, who work at St. Charles hospitals and other healthcare facilities in central Oregon, initially sought a union election around the time Joe Sluka stepped down as president and CEO of St. Charles amid the health system's financial struggles. Steve Gordon, MD, became interim president and CEO after Mr. Sluka left the role and was named to the position permanently. The health system also eliminated two executive leadership positions last year. 

In addition to leadership changes, St. Charles also has announced a new strategic direction and began to achieve financial improvement in the second half of 2022, according to the release.

Now, St. Charles leaders and professionals within the medical group said they are looking forward to working together to address concerns related to issues like contracting processes and pay.

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