Ontario Nurses' Association President to Address Regressive Contract Proposals with Members

Nurses meet at Westin Harbour Castle Hotel tomorrow

TORONTO, March 17, 2014 /CNW/ - Hundreds of front-line nurses will hear first-hand details of the plan by Ontario hospitals to roll back their wages and benefits when they meet in Toronto tomorrow and Wednesday.

Registered nurses (RNs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNS), members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), will hear from President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN tomorrow morning when she speaks about the proposals. The ONA President spent the weekend at arbitration after the OHA walked away from bargaining last week.

Haslam-Stroud will be available for media interviews after 10 am tomorrow, following her keynote address to members.

Haslam-Stroud says that patients will be the biggest losers in this dispute. "The proposed cuts will have a profound impact on the supply of nurses in Ontario that directly impacts the quality of care that Ontarians can expect to receive," she said. "They send a strong message that nurses are not valued and will likely prompt new nursing graduates to look south of the border or to other provinces to practice."

She notes that, "Rather than working with ONA to find a way forward for our 58,000-plus front-line hospital nurses, the OHA chose to walk away. Their proposals are simply outrageous. Our members have already been through a two-year wage freeze and the proposed three-per-cent rollback in wages comes as the province has the second-worst RN-to-patient ratio in Canada. We need to make Ontario a more attractive place to practice nursing, not drive nurses away."

The value of nursing care is well-documented, with studies repeatedly showing a direct link between RN staffing levels and patient health outcomes. Ontario has cut more than 1,000 RN positions in the past two years.

ONA is the union representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and allied health professionals, as well as nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-1979 ext.2430, cell: (416) 986-8240, shereeb@ona.org; Katherine Russo, (416) 964-1979 ext. 2214, katheriner@ona.org