By COLIN STAUB
Providence St. Vincent nurses would get up to 14% raises and a stronger commitment from management to follow daily staffing levels under a tentative agreement with the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA). But nurses at hospitals in Milwaukie and Oregon City remain far apart from management in contract bargaining.
The St. Vincent nurses will vote on the two-year contract June 20 to 23. The union bargaining team is recommending approval. The agreement would cover about 1,600 nurses. It includes a 10% raise upon ratification, an additional 3% in January 2023 and 1% in July 2023, for a total 14% over two years. (Providence was previously offering a 15% increase over three years). It also provides a $2,000 ratification bonus (Providence had proposed $750) and a $1,500 bonus at the beginning of 2023.
The agreement also brings language from Oregon’s nurse staffing law into the union contract, requiring hospitals to develop and adhere to staffing plans. ONA says enshrining this language in the contract creates enforceable staffing standards. It will help reduce nurse burnout and ensure patients receive timely care, ONA says, and was a big sticking point in negotiations.
The agreement locks in some health care costs for workers for the life of the contract, including deductibles, out-of-pocket max payments, and copays.
At Providence Milwaukie and Providence Willamette Falls, nurses voted “nearly unanimously” to authorize a strike, ONA announced June 2. Together, the two hospitals employ 472 union nurses. They are seeking similar contract provisions as the St. Vincent nurses, and they have bargaining sessions slated in coming weeks.