The union representing nurses at St. Charles Health System in Bend announced on Monday that they have authorized a strike, possibly setting up the hospital’s first nurses’ strike in more than 40 years.
Nurses at the hospital — the largest employer in Central Oregon — are preparing for a strike due to what they say is chronic understaffing that endangers patients and is overworking staff.
“The nurses are ready for a major shift,” said Julie Bostrom, a nurse at St. Charles’ emergency department for 23 years. “And that’s what we’re asking the hospital to do — is to start respecting us and figure out how we’re going to recruit and retain people. “
Around 1,000 nurses make up the bargaining unit, which is managed by the Oregon Nurses Association.
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