Oregon Nurses Association reached tentative agreement with Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) on a new union contract for over 2,300 nurses. The agreement was reached May 18 after a marathon 22-hour bargaining session facilitated by a state mediator. A vote to ratify the contract is set for May 31 and June 1, and the union bargaining team is recommending approval.
If OHSU nurses ratify as expected, the new contract will raise wages more than 9 percent and preserve current health benefits with no increase to the amount members pay. The contract would run three years and three months, expiring June 30, 2020. It would also codify OHSU’s practices on safe nurse staffing levels: In each unit, committees composed equally of direct care nurses and nursing managers will decide what the minimum staffing needs are for that unit.
Over several months of bargaining, the union negotiating team was supported by an active contract action team. Hundreds of nurses took part in a rally April 26, the first day the two sides began mediation. Members also approached dozens of local businesses asking that they post signs saying “We Support Nurses At OHSU.” The signs popped up in business windows in South Waterfront and around Portland.