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St. Charles Bend nurses ratify new contract

Jan. 28, 2019

BEND, Ore. – St. Charles Bend nurses represented by the Oregon Nurses Association have voted in favor of ratifying a new four-and-a-half year contract.

“We are happy to have reached a contract agreement that both the nurses and St. Charles leaders feel good about,” said Debbie Robinson, chief nursing officer for St. Charles Bend. “While it took many months of conversations, we ended in a good place and we are all ready to come together and continue doing what we do best – providing quality care for our patients.”

Now that the contract has been ratified, St. Charles and the ONA will work together to develop processes to put the new contract language into practice in the coming weeks.

“The newly ratified contract helps ensure we are providing the best quality care for our community,” said local nurse leader and ONA bargaining unit chair David Hilderbrand, RN. “We look forward to taking the next step of implementing the new contract and utilizing the new tools provided to address shared concerns like staffing and practice standards, which allows us to focus on our patients.”

Some highlights from the new contract include:

  • New groups have been created so nurses float between similar departments, providing more flexibility for staffing and ensuring every patient is treated by nurses trained to meet their specific needs.
  • Creates a shared governance structure to increase accountability around staffing and practice issues. The new shared governance model will allow direct-care nurses and managers to work together to quickly address practice concerns.
  • Nurses can be hired into St. Charles at step levels that are consistent with their years of experience, which will enhance recruiting efforts.
  • The teams reached a fair agreement on wages and benefits. Offers variable cost-of-living increases to provide financial flexibility for the hospital while helping recruit and retain nurses.

About St. Charles Health System
St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 4,200 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. It is a professional association and labor union which represents nearly 15,000 nurses across the state. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information, visit