Negotiations at Providence Milwaukie and Willamette Falls continue, and more union activity is also planned.
After voting to authorize a strike in May, nurses at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center reached a tentative two-year contract agreement with Providence administrators last week after nearly eight months and 20 bargaining sessions.
According to a Saturday press release from the Oregon Nurses Association, nurses at St. Vincent will have the opportunity to vote on the new contract “in the coming weeks.” If they accept the deal, it will take effect immediately.
The tentative agreement increases wages for skilled nurses by as much as 14% over the next two years, improves access to personal protective equipment, locks in “most” health benefit costs and limits premium increases during the life of the contract.
Providence St. Vincent in Portland. Courtesy of Wikipedia
The contract also contains pledges from Providence to post and fill vacant positions quickly, create a pilot program for break nurses to ensure patients receive care quickly and reduce nurse burnout.
News of the deal closely comes just days after nurses at two other Providence facilities — Providence Milwaukie Hospital and Providence Medical Center — voted to authorize a strike.
The St. Vincent deal does not affect negotiations at those facilities, which are ongoing.
In a statement to Oregon Business, ONA communications manager Kevin Mealy said the St. Vincent agreement “sets a standard” that could serve as a roadmap for the agreements at Providence Milwaukie and Willamette, particularly on the issue of staffing where nurses “secured numerous concessions that will make care safer for nurses and patients.”
Mealy says there has been “significant movement” during negotiations at the other two facilities. Union representatives at Willamette Falls have two bargaining sessions scheduled this month, Providence Milwaukie reps are scheduled to meet with administrators later in June.
The ONA is also planning an informational picket at Providence Hood River, where nurses’ contracts have also expired.
A statement from Providence said the hospital system is “pleased to announce” the tentative agreement with the nurses at Providence St. Vincent but added that “each contract negotiation is separate” and that where negotiations will land with Providence Milwaukie and Willamette Falls nurses “is up to the bargaining teams at each site.”
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