The new contract comes on the heels of 7 months of negotiation, and includes wage increases starting at 14%.
Nurses at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital have ratified a new contract agreement with the hospital, according to a press release issued by the Oregon Nurses Association Thursday.
According to the press release, the vote took place Oct. 20. The new contract is effective immediately and runs through March 31, 2024.
After nurses' contract expired in March 2022, frontline nurses from Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital worked without a contract for seven months. Nurses led two public informational pickets in Hood River and accused Providence of unsafe staffing practices and patient care standards and community health needs.
The nurses were joined by statewide health care leaders, elected officials, union allies and local community supporters including ONA President Tamie Cline and now-former State Representative Anna Williams.
In June, nurses at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center reached a two-year contract agreement with Providence administrators after eight months and 20 bargaining sessions.
“One contract can’t solve all the problems we face, but this agreement is a clear win for our community,” said Brittany Foss, co-chair at ONA’s executive committee at the hospital. “By improving patient care, paying workers fair wages, keeping health care affordable and starting to address Providence’s staffing crisis–we will be better able to recruit and retain skilled nurses and expand access to care so everyone in our community can get the help they need, when they need it,” said Foss in the release.
The new contract agreement strengthens unit-based and hospital-wide staffing committees and incorporating Oregon’s nurse staffing law into the contract. It ensures nurses who “float” between different hospital departments have the time and training to meet different patients’ unique care needs, caps health insurance cost increases. Additional ONA negotiations also created a Providence-wide health insurance task force to study ways to reduce health insurance costs and improve care for all workers.
The new contract also includes a wage increase. Local frontline nurses will receive wage increases between 14% and 21% over the next two years, with the most significant increases going to the lowest paid nurses, according to the union.
Additionally, the contacts improves bilingual differentials to incentivize more health care workers to learn and maintain fluency in multiple languages.
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