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News Release
Home care nurses and community allies held a candlelight vigil in Springfield Feb. 23 to demand PeaceHealth raise standards and commit to a fair contract for nurses and patients. Photo courtesy of Kevin Mealy, ONA.
Home care nurses and community allies held a candlelight vigil in Springfield Feb. 23 to demand PeaceHealth raise standards and commit to a fair contract for nurses and patients. Photo courtesy of Kevin Mealy, ONA.
Nurses Vote to Approve Contract with PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services (Photo) - 05/13/24

(Springfield, Ore.) — After 16 months of negotiations, home health and hospice nurses at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services voted to ratify a four-year contract agreement with PeaceHealth May 13.  

Nurses at the region’s largest home health and hospice provider care for many of Lane County’s most complicated patients and deliver hospital-quality care directly to patients’ homes. They have spent the last year-plus fighting for a fair contract to improve patient care; address record turnover and vacancies; and hold PeaceHealth accountable to their community. 

The new contract includes several important care improvements.

Contract Highlights:

  • Protects community health by ensuring nurses who are exposed to communicable diseases can isolate to avoid compromising vulnerable, home-bound populations.
  • Raises safety standards by empowering an interdisciplinary workplace violence prevention committee to address workplace violence and prevention; physical and verbal abuse; and harassment issues unique to home care environments.
  • Promotes advanced training and education to bring health care innovations to Lane County. The contract increases support for nurses’ professional development--allowing more RNs to take advantage of continuing education opportunities to learn and deliver the latest best practices to local patients.
  • Creates accountability around health care costs by establishing a health benefits task force to explore workers’ and families’ health needs and make recommendations to keep care accessible and affordable.
  • Increases wages up to 16% over four years and raises pay for nurses with advanced degrees and skills. The contract also includes a one-time bonus for nurses still with PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services in Jan. 2025.

While nurses are proud of what they were able to achieve, they remain concerned that inequitable wages will continue negatively impacting their community by accelerating record turnover and limiting recruitment opportunities. 

Even with contractual improvements, nurses at every other local PeaceHealth hospital and home care service will receive significantly higher wages than nurses at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services–including workers at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield; PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center in Florence; and PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Home Health in Florence. This pay gap will continue to make it difficult for PeaceHealth to address vacancies and attract or retain experienced providers. 

ONA and our members remain concerned about the corporatization of healthcare systems like PeaceHealth in Oregon and its impacts on the workers and communities. We will continue fighting to advocate for patients and providers. PeaceHealth has extensive work to do to repair its relationship with health care providers, patients and the local community–whose support for nurses was critical to the success of these negotiations. 

“I want to send a sincere thank you to the many elected leaders, union allies, community groups and supporters from all walks of life who signed a petition, attended a rally, marched with us on the picket line and showed their appreciation for nurses. I’m touched by the support nurses and our patients received from people in every part of Lane County,” said Jo Turner, ONA bargaining unit chair and nurse at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services. “We know there’s more work to be done to expand access to health care and to keep holding PeaceHealth accountable to our community. I believe we can build on the work of our community coalitions and continue raising standards to make sure everyone in our community has access to high-quality, affordable health care.”

The ONA represents more than 90 frontline nurses at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services and nearly 1500 nurses at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center Riverbend. 

Nurses began negotiating with PeaceHealth executives in February 2023. Their previous contract expired in April 2023. Nurses reached a tentative agreement April 24 and voted on the agreement May 6 - 13. 

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