Byline: Tim Christie The Register-Guard
Nurses who work at Sacred Heart Medical Center and for Sacred Heart Home Care Services have voted to extend their existing labor contracts for one year with no cost-of-living increases, hospital and union officials said Friday.
The Oregon Nurses Association represents about 1,200 nurses at Sacred Heart Medical Center and more than 70 home care services nurses. The two Sacred Heart hospitals in the metro area are owned by PeaceHealth, a Catholic-sponsored, nonprofit health system based in Bellevue.
The hospital and the nurses union agreed to extend their existing contract through June 30, 2010, rather than try to negotiate a new, three-year labor agreement, because of the "enormous financial issues" confronting PeaceHealth, PeaceHealth spokesman Jim Godbold said.
"It was advantageous to both sides to not have to be tied up in difficult, complicated contract negotiations when other financial issues were on the front burner," he said.
"In an uncertain economic environment, anything that aids predictability is a big plus, for management and for workers," he added. "Quick resolution of contract negotiations with the largest bargaining unit allows energy and attention to be directed toward other key initiatives that are crucial to meeting the financial challenges posed by the current recession. …