Medical technologists voted nearly 3-to-1 to unionize last fall
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The union newly representing more than 160 St. Charles Bend technologists kicked off their first contract negotiations with hospital management this week.
The workers voted nearly 3-to-1 to unionize last September, adding 163 new members to the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, which has 5,100 members statewide.
The new St. Charles union members are technology specialists in areas ranging from anesthesia and surgery to X-ray and respiratory therapy.
Adrienne Enghouse, president of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, told NewsChannel 21 during a Bend visit Wednesday that the goals of the talks and contract are to address patient safety concerns, improve worker safety and ensure adequate staff to deliver quality patient care.
“It takes a lot of courage to form a union,” Enghouse said. “They are standing up to people they are typically subordinate to, because they care so much about the community they serve.”
NewsChannel 21 also asked Enghouse how the pay scale might change.
Enghouse said although there are not any specific numbers about the pay being sought, the union hopes there will be more transparency between employees and management about how much workers should be getting paid.
Tiffany Pilling has been working as a CT technologist at St. Charles Bend for 28 years. She told NewsChannel 21 she is excited for the opportunity to be on the front line of a movement that could impact the future of patient and employee safety.
“It’s (been) a new growth for me personally,” Pilling said. “Being (at St. Charles for) 28 years and not in a formed union, this will be a great opportunity for us to be able to experience new ideas.”
Aaron Adams, the president of St. Charles Bend and Redmond, sent NewsChannel 21 the following statement:
"We respect our caregivers’ right to organize and are looking forward to productive and positive communications at the bargaining table with the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal of ensuring we provide the safest environment possible for our patients to receive care.”
Both Enghouse and Pilling said technologists know how to do their job best, which is why they want to bring their perspectives to the attention of health care managers who do not directly work with patients on the floor.
The talks come a year after nearly 900 St. Charles Bend nurses represented by the Oregon Nurses Association ratified a new contract, following 26 negotiating sessions and more than six months after the previous contract expired.