BEND, Ore. (AP) – After six months of often acrimonious negotiations, St. Charles Health System and the Oregon Nurses Association have reached a tentative agreement for a new contract for the more than 900 nurses who work at the Bend hospital.

The Bulletin reports the agreement came after a marathon two-day negotiating session with a federal mediator wrapped up 1 a.m. Saturday morning.

Debbie Robinson, chief nursing officer at St. Charles Bend, said the two sides considered each of the items in dispute individually, and after gaining some momentum with the help of the mediator, were able to broker a deal to bridge the remaining gap.

The contract must be ratified by a majority of nurses before it can be implemented, but union leaders have recommended a “yes” vote. The contract does not include the nurses at St. Charles hospitals in Redmond, Madras and Prineville.

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