Members of the Oregon Health & Science University and Oregon Nurses Association bargaining teams on Wednesday, May 24, met in person at OHSU to continue exchanging proposals. ONA reviewed their overall bargaining priorities before walking through their economic package, and OHSU presented proposals around Definitions and Committees.
In presenting its economic counterproposals, OHSU communicated that it would be helpful to understand how ONA’s priorities were reflected in the many economic enhancements that ONA sought in its opening economic package. ONA helpfully identified the following seven priorities:
- Night shift differential
- On call
- Charge nurse differential
- Retirement issues
- Resource nurses
ONA then presented a complete economic package for OHSU’s consideration and answered questions about it. ONA did reduce many of its economic proposals from the positions in its opening economic package, but the parties remain far apart in many core areas.
This is to be expected at this point in the negotiations, when the economic proposals have only been exchanged three times. Last negotiation cycle, the parties exchanged economic proposals more than a dozen times before reaching agreement. While it is OHSU’s hope that parties reach agreement early in this negotiation cycle, the bargaining process typically takes time and numerous proposals.
After ONA’s presentation, OHSU presented two counterproposals:
- Article 5 – Definitions, including responses on new definitions of split positions (for existing nurses with split FTE in two or more units), cross trained nurses (required to work in two or more units), and pivot nurses (who volunteer to work outside of their home unit). OHSU also committed to bargain with ONA before arranging to bring on international nurses outside of the ONA bargaining unit.
- Article 27 – Committees, including agreeing to ONA’s proposal to create a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Grant Committee, which would administer a block grant of approximately 250 hours (.08 hours/nurse) toward projects focusing on JEDI issues within OHSU and the greater Portland area. OHSU’s counterproposal also increases the size of the Professional Nursing Care Committee to account for an increase in the ONA bargaining unit and agreement to certain process improvements for shared governance committees.
The parties agreed to begin mediation Wednesday, June 14, and to schedule another mediation date in June if possible. These dates need to be confirmed by the Employment Relations Board, the neutral state agency that provides mediators to public employers like OHSU. Mediation is a routine part of the collective bargaining process where a neutral third party works with both parties to facilitate reaching an agreement.
In what OHSU hopes is the first of many tentative agreements prior to mediation, the parties reached a tentative agreement on the Appendix regarding the Employee Benefits Council.
Negotiations will resume on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at ONA for an in-person session. OHSU committed to respond to ONA’s proposal on Article 15 – Leaves and new Article 29 – Modified Operations and Communicable Disease issues. OHSU also committed to providing a response to ONA’s staffing proposal during the June 7 session, if not before. ONA informed OHSU that it is close to providing responses to five of OHSU’s counterproposals.