Home health, hospice nurses in OR call for union contract agreement
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Nurses who care for patients in their homes in the Willamette Valley are pushing to get their union contract negotiations across the finish line.
Home health and hospice care workers at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart in the Eugene area have been in a long struggle to complete negotiations. The nurses' contract expired in April.
Jo Turner, a hospice visiting nurse who has been leading negotiations for the Oregon Nurses Association, said they are holding an informational picket today in Eugene.
"The plan is to get the public involved," Turner explained. "Get them to understand the lack of respect that PeaceHealth is demonstrating to their home care nurses."
The home care nurses are looking to maintain pay parity with nurses in hospitals. Turner argued continuity of care between hospital and home is important. PeaceHealth did not respond to a request for comment.
PeaceHealth is closing the only hospital in Eugene at the end of the year. Turner noted there is concern it will mean more patients will need care at home.
"There's all these patients that are being discharged quickly and with no safety net," Turner pointed out. "They're just expecting Sacred Heart hospice and Sacred Heart home care to take these patients that are extremely heavy burdens that the rest of the home care companies will not take."
Turner added PeaceHealth cannot take the same approach to negotiations in Eugene as it does in other cities.
"You have to meet your community where it's at and you have to provide for your community, not like you would provide for Vancouver or Bellingham," Turner stressed. "We are our own special community, and who better to serve it than your nurses that live in the community?"
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