The deal could avert a strike at one of three Portland-area hospitals where they have been authorized.

COURTESY PHOTO: KOIN 6 NEWS - The sign outside the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland.Nurses at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center made a tentative bargaining agreement with the hospital Friday evening, avoiding a possible strike.

The Portland hospital said the deal comes after nearly eight months of negotiations.

It only covers nurses at Providence St. Vincent, which was the first of three Providence hospitals to authorize a strike. Nurses at Providence Willamette Falls and Providence Milwaukie still do not have a deal and have given union leadership authority to call a strike.

The hospital network also is still in negotiations with nurses at Providence Hood River.

In a statement, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center said "after nearly eight months and 20 bargaining sessions, the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center (PSVMC) and Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) labor negotiation teams are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement on the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement, covering almost 1,600 registered nurses."

The hospital added "in the coming week, ONA will provide PSVMC-represented registered nurses more details on the tentative agreement and the planned ratification vote. Specifics of the tentative agreement will be available to the general public following the ratification vote by represented nurses. PSVMC and ONA look forward to continuing our long history of working together collaboratively to support the practice of nursing and providing high-quality, compassionate care for the patients and communities we serve."

The Oregon Nurses Association also released a statement saying, "Nurses are dedicated to putting our patients first. We stood up to one of the nation's largest health care systems and we've reached an agreement to make immediate improvements to our patients' health care," said John Smeltzer, registered nurse and ONA executive committee president at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

Smeltzer added "when frontline nurses spoke out, our community rallied around us. I'm grateful to the thousands of community allies, labor leaders, elected officials and frontline health care workers who stood with nurses to set a new standard of care for our community. This agreement addresses our patients' needs and gives us a viable way to recruit and retain the nurses our community counts on. Now it's up to Providence and nurses to honor the agreements we've made and make Providence St. Vincent the hospital we know it can be."

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.

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