Members of the Oregon Health & Science University and Oregon Nurses Association bargaining teams on Wednesday, May 31, met in person at ONA’s offices to continue exchanging proposals. OHSU’s chief nurse executive, Brooke Baldwin, joined the OHSU bargaining team to present OHSU’s staffing counterproposal; members of OHSU’s Parking and Transportation Department joined and answered ONA questions; and the parties exchanged several proposals. It was a very productive day.
The parties had a lengthy and frank conversation around staffing, including discussing questions in a second joint session with Baldwin.
Baldwin introduced OHSU’s staffing counterproposal. She acknowledged that OHSU needs to repair some fundamental structural processes within the OHSU Nurse Staffing Committee process, and explained that the parties are aligned on nurse staffing being based on the best available evidence. She recognized that the parties may not yet be aligned on how to best create safe and appropriate staffing, and committed to advocate for staffing changes and ensure transparency.
Baldwin explained her desire to achieve appropriate ratio and staffing guidelines for OHSU’s patient population through emphasis on an evidence-based acuity process, driven by bedside nurses and nursing management rather than a set number based only on an external benchmark. She also explained the need to have a representative from OHSU’s Finance department with fiscal authority be part of the staffing plan process while the plan is developed to ensure alignment not just at the end after the UBNPCs and Housewide Committee have made their recommendation.
OHSU’s staffing counterproposal reflected the new chief nurse executive’s priorities, including commitments to have a representative with fiscal authority be part of the staffing planning process, and having staffing plans reviewed and potentially revised based on acuity/workload intensity tools largely driven by bedside nurses.
In addition to OHSU’s staffing counterproposal, OHSU presented two more proposals:
- Article 15 – Leaves – including removing a limit on paid leave for nurses testifying in an arbitration, coverage for nurses on jury duty, and use of paid accruals during protected leave.
- Article 29 – Modified Operations, Communicable Disease Management, and Emergency Preparedness – including establishing a task force to discuss novel communicable diseases akin to the COVID-19 Task Force, and agreeing to bargain any future required vaccines.
ONA presented three counterproposals:
- Article 17 – Retirement – retaining the timeline for employees to make a retirement plan selection and the default contribution rate.
- Article 22 – Grievance and Arbitration – including redefined association grievance parameters, union representation in pre-grievance meetings, and limitations on removal from roles that have an associated differential.
- MOU 8 – Employee Health Care Access Committee – establishing a committee of at least five people to discuss health care access issues, and a guaranteed timeline for AskHR to provide substantive responses to questions. A tentative agreement was reached.
The parties subsequently exchanged counterproposals on Articles 15 and 22, and are getting much closer to agreement on those sections.
The parties have confirmed in-person mediation June 14 and 20 at ONA’s offices, and agreed to also keep their non-mediation scheduled bargaining day on June 21 at OHSU. Mediation is a routine part of the collective bargaining process where a neutral third party works with both parties to help facilitate reaching an agreement.
A tentative agreement was reached on MOU 8, regarding the new Employee Health Care Access Committee.
Negotiations will resume Wednesday, June 7, at OHSU for an in-person session. As discussed at the table last week, OHSU is working on its economic counter, and will provide that in mediation on June 14 if not before.