PeaceHealth offer would lock in lower pay for home care


Members of Oregon Nurses Association are set to vote on the offer through May 13.

Registered nurses who provide home care service for PeaceHealth Sacred Heart reached a critical decision point last month: agree to be paid less than hospital nurses, or go on strike a second time for equal pay. 

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) represents the unit of about 90 nurses who provide hospice and other care to patients in their homes in the Eugene-Springfield area. In a vote held April 12-16, the nurses authorized an open-ended strike. Then on April 24, ONA agreed to refer PeaceHealth’s latest contract offer to members for a vote. Union leaders are recommending a “no” vote because the employer proposes to pay home care nurses 4.5% less than their counterparts in the hospital. The workers have asked for pay parity since contract negotiations started in December 2022. 

The home care nurses’ previous contract expired in April 2023. ONA also represents a unit of hospital nurses. The hospital nurse unit initially was bargaining together with the home care nurses, but PeaceHealth demanded to bargain separately with each unit. Historically both units bargained together with PeaceHealth and were paid the same. 

Hospital nurses reached a separate agreement in August that raised wages 8% to $47.74 an hour for a nurse with three years experience, followed by raises of 5.5%, 4%, and 3% the remaining years of the contract. The bargaining update provided to home care nurses says PeaceHealth’s offer in the tentative agreement still lags the hospital nurse agreement. 

Without wage parity, home care nurses will be more likely to leave Sacred Heart for jobs at other hospitals that pay more, Jo Turner, the ONA home care bargaining team chair said at an April 24 press conference. Already, more than a quarter of the home care nurses have quit, according to ONA. 

ONA will hold a vote May 6-13. If home care nurses reject the offer, ONA leaders could call for a strike; it would be the unit’s second walkout this year because nurses held a limited duration strike Feb. 10-24. 

Under state law, nurses must give 10-day notice before walking out on strike.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read more