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Thu Mar 4, 2021, 05:40 AM

Strike Moves Forward For St. Charles Medical Techs

BEND -- Around 150 technical employees at St. Charles Medical Center plan to walk off the job on March 4, hoping to settle an ongoing contract dispute with their employer. Representatives from the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, along with attorneys for St. Charles met in federal court March 2, after St. Charles filed a suit against the union in an effort to keep workers from striking. Technical employees—which include therapists, technicians and other technologists at the hospital—have been negotiating with their employer for higher wages and working conditions they call "disrespectful" for over a year. The employees joined the OFNHP union in 2019 and began negotiations soon after.

"This unit of frontline caregivers has been bargaining their first contract for more than a full year, and the hospital has yet to agree to critical provisions about pay and other working conditions," the OFNHP described in a Feb. 23 release. "In addition, the hospital broke federal labor law by unilaterally changing pay for some healthcare professionals. Over the weekend of January 31st and February 1st the techs held an informational picket at the hospital with mass participation. On December 3, 2020, the hospital canceled bargaining and only agreed to return to the bargaining table following that picket. After subsequently agreeing to mediation, management canceled all future bargaining when they were given notice of a strike."

Representatives from St. Charles believe the strike notice was unlawful.

"The National Labor Relations Act requires that when a first contract is being negotiated the union must provide at least 30-days' notice of the contract dispute to state and federal mediation agencies so the dispute may be resolved without a work stoppage," said Rebecca Berry, vice president of Human Resources for St. Charles in a release March 1. "As a result, we believe the strike notice is unlawful and the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board] is now investigating that issue."

Read more: https://www.bendsource.com/bend/strike-moves-forward-for-st-charles-medical-techs/Content?oid=14210987

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