After nine months, nurses in Florence get new union contract

Nurses at PeaceHealth Peace Harbor hospital in Florence approved a new three-year union contract Aug. 3 after more than nine months of negotiations.

Peace Harbor is a 21-bed acute care hospital; its roughly 75 registered nurses are represented by Oregon Nurses Association (ONA).

The new agreement provides for a across-the-board 3 percent wage increase retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017, followed by 3 percent increases in 2018 and 2019, and 2 percent in 2020. Peace Harbor nurses’ starting wage is now approximately $34 per hour. The new contract also provides for increased security measures for nurses who work off-site, and a financial penalty — double-time pay — to discourage managers from scheduling excessive on-call hours and overtime.

ONA spokesperson Kevin Mealy said nurses feel a special gratitude to the local community for attending a community town hall organized by the union, and for supporting a May 1 informational picket. Mealy said the public pressure may have contributed to more favorable contract settlement.

Nurses had been working without a contract since Jan. 31, 2017. The new contract runs through March 31, 2020.

PeaceHealth, headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, is a nonprofit Catholic health care system with 10 hospitals in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.

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