Bend hospital workers begin strike
Around 140 hospital workers went on strike in Bend on Thursday, as negotiations between their union and the St. Charles health system remained at an impasse.
The medical technicians, technologists and therapists picketed outside St. Charles Bend hospital. Many of the workers wore bright red face masks, and waved signs that read: “On strike against unfair labor practices.”
The workers have argued that compensation for their work has not kept pace with skyrocketing cost of living in Bend and that St. Charles has stifled their calls for fair wages, particularly during the pandemic.
Radiology technologist Afton Rogers, a 17-year veteran at St. Charles, said as she was walking out of a shift Thursday morning, temporary replacement workers hired by the hospital were walking in.
“That tells me that you don’t value me,” Rogers said. “You don’t value my years of experience, my education, my relationships with physicians there — my knowledge of the department flow. It’s very disappointing that’s where St. Charles stands.”
Rogers said she wants guaranteed wage formulas and protections against forced overtime.
Meanwhile, St. Charles Bend president Aaron Adams has said the hospital has a significant budget shortfall because of the pandemic, despite receiving nearly $32 million in federal stimulus money from the CARES Act.
Adams said St. Charles will bring in replacement workers to keep hospital operations running throughout the strike. The next scheduled date for negotiations between the union and the hospital is March 10.
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