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St. Charles, medical techs’ union reach agreement on first contract after walkout

St. Charles medical technologists, respiratory therapists walked off the job March 4
KTVZ file
St. Charles medical technologists, respiratory therapists walked off the job March 4

150 members plan Wednesday ratification vote

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- St. Charles Health System and Bend hospital caregivers represented by the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals announced Sunday they have reached a tentative agreement on a first-time contract.

The 150 technical caregivers will have the opportunity to vote on the contract language on Wednesday.

"At the request of the federal mediator, the parties will not engage in media interviews regarding details of the agreement until after the vote," the union said in its brief announcement.

The contract will go into effect once it has been ratified by the represented caregivers, they added.

The union members began a walkout on March 4 after on-and-off negotiations for over a year failed to reach agreement on an initial contract. Talks resumed March 10 with a federal mediator, and the striking workers agreed to return to work March 15 and end daily picketing.

The strike's end brought word the two sides had set a goal of reaching a contract by the end of March.

"The agreement came together as both parties believe patient care is and should be the top priority, the strike has been distracting and difficult for all involved and it is in everyone’s best interest to return to the table and continue bargaining," their joint statement at the time said.

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