St. Charles Bend medical techs give 10-day strike notice over lack of contract

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Union claims hospital putting off talks with mediator, broke federal labor law

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The union representing medical techs at St. Charles Bend gave 10-day notice Monday that they will be walking out on strike after more than a year of negotiations have failed to result in an initial contract.

Here’s the full statement from the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. We have also contacted St. Charles representatives for a statement on this latest development:

“This decision comes after more than an arduous full year of negotiating their first union contract, where management refused to agree to fair wage and working condition proposals and is stalling on setting reasonable bargaining dates.

“Management’s unwillingness to settle the contract has pushed these essential healthcare employees to take a stand so that they can gain living wages and a voice on the job. The medical techs voted by more than 94% to authorize the strike and sent the 10-day notice of striking shortly after authorization.

“Management has been unwilling to agree to common-sense proposals that can help both staff and patients, and this is our last resort to improve the conditions at the hospital,” says DeeDee Schumacher, an ultrasound technologist who has worked at St. Charles for 40 years.

“We don’t want to strike and would rather continue working in our community, so we hope the hospital will avert this by settling a fair contract.”

“After winning a union election in 2019, this unit of front-line 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.

“In addition, the hospital broke federal labor law by changing pay for some health care 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. Management subsequently agreed to mediation, but have still delayed establishing timely bargaining dates.

 “We know that when front-line health workers do not receive the support they need, then patient care can also suffer. Since our patients are our top priority, the technologists, technicians, and therapists are calling on the hospital to do the right thing for both their community and staff. Over 90% of these techs report being underpaid, and management’s proposals would not allow for adequate wage adjustments,” the statement concluded.

Jack Hirsh is speaking with a representative from the ONFHP and is awaiting comment from St. Charles. He will have a full report starting on NewsChannel 21 Fox @ 4.

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