St. Charles Bend home health, hospice nurses file to join union
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Another group of nurses at St. Charles Health System filed a request Wednesday to join a union, the Oregon Nurses Association.
The election would cover about 40 home health and hospice nurses in Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Madras and surrounding areas, an ONA representative said.
Because of their job duties, visiting people at their homes, they are classified as their own bargaining unit and will not be part of the hospital nurses, the union said. The ONA represents about 1,100 nurses at St. Charles Bend, Redmond and Prineville.
Here is the ONA news release, and a statement from St. Charles Health System:
Home Health and Hospice nurses at St. Charles file for union representation (Photo)
Oregon Nurses Assn. - 10/05/22 3:18 PM
BEND, Ore. – Today, Home Health and Hospice nurses at St. Charles Health System in Bend filed for a union election to join the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) Oct. 5, 2022. A supermajority of nurses submitted union authorization cards to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after St. Charles administration declined voluntary recognition. The NLRB will set a date for the nurses’ union election in the next few weeks.
“We are disappointed that St. Charles refused to recognize our union but we are deeply committed to building a workplace where we can provide quality patient care with appropriate support and tools to ensure safety for everyone,” said Karin Arthur, RN. “Unfortunately, we have witnessed St. Charles going against its stated values many, many times. To better serve our patients and protect ourselves, we are forming a union.”
Frontline nurses want input in decision-making because they know what their patients need. By forming a union, they will ensure home health and hospice nurses receive fair treatment, access to due process and adequate compensation and local patients receive high-quality, accessible health care.
“St. Charles has experienced a lot of management instability and changes in priorities have meant many highly qualified staff have left the system. We don’t have the resources we need to adequately serve our patients, but we are expected to keep up the same high level of care. It’s not fair to our patients or health care providers,” said Cherie Iannucchi, RN.
If the majority of home health and hospice nurses vote to join ONA in the union election, they will elect a local nurse leadership team, establish bylaws and begin contract negotiations with St. Charles Health System executives.
ONA already represents hospital nurses at St. Charles facilities in Bend, Prineville and Redmond. The contract for nurses in Bend expires at the end of the year and they are already preparing for negotiations. In June, around 300 physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants also announced their intent to form a union.
The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents more than 15,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state including nearly 1,200 frontline nurses working at multiple St. Charles Health facilities in Central Oregon. We are a proud state affiliate of AFT and the American Nurses Association. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.
St. Charles statement and petition notice:
Today the Oregon Nurses Association filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to request a secret ballot union election. This election will decide if a majority of St. Charles’ Home Health, Hospice and Transitions Navigator registered nurses wish to be represented by this union as part of a new separate bargaining unit.
We recognize and respect the right of our employees, including our nurses, to freely choose whether they wish to be represented by a union. We also respect the National Labor Relations Board processes that allow our employees the opportunity to a participate in a secret ballot election following the NLRB’s review of the proposed bargaining unit. To ensure our nurses can exercise their full rights under the law with regard to representation, we declined to recognize a new bargaining unit without a secret ballot election as was requested by the ONA late Tuesday night.