Union contract negotiations continue between nurses, Asante Rogue Regional

, Ore. — Nurses are currently negotiating a new contract with Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, after their last contract expired in May.

“I believe 10% of Oregon COVID cases right now are health care workers and so I think that in and of itself, speaks for the need for having really good health care for our health care workers,” Juniper Arthurs, nurse at Asante Rogue Regional, said.

After their union contract expired in May, nurses at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center say they deserve better than what the hospital system is currently offering. One of the main areas of focus is affordable health care.

“If you’re not seeing an Asante health network provider, then you will have to pay a lot more money and it’ll come out of your own pocket,” David Baca, nurse at Asante Rogue Regional, said.

“You may be facing up to $4,000 to $6,000 deductibles and up to $12,000 to $15,000 dollars out of pocket costs,” Arthurs said.

During their last contract negotiations three years ago, nurses started a public campaign with lawn signs that still can be seen around Medford. Asante and the Oregon Nurses Association which represents over 15,000 nurses statewide will bring in a federal moderator in September to continue negotiating a new three year contract.

“There is no outcome we want more than to just continue to be here for the patients and the people that we serve. At the same time we do need to make sure that all employees, including nurses can attain affordable health care,” Baca said.

The Oregon Nurses Association says there is no doubt that the nurses and Asante will come to an agreement.

Asante declined our interview request, but said in a statement, “We value our nurses and the care they provide our patients. Representatives from both Asante and the Oregon Nurses Association are working hard to reach a fair contract. For 2021, we have addressed the health plan issue of most concern to the ONA negotiating team. We look forward to continuing this process together as we have in past years to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of our employees and our patients.”

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