OSHAWA, ON, April 8 /CNW/ - Social Workers and Registered Respiratory
Therapists at Lakeridge Health are heading to arbitration on Monday to
obtain a fair and equitable contract that respects the important work
they do for their patients, just as an Independent Assessment Committee
looks into RN staffing levels at the hospital's Oshawa inpatient
Approximately 100 Social Workers and Registered Respiratory Therapists,
members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), have been without a
contract since December 31, 2008. On April 11, 2011, they are heading
to arbitration with well-respected arbitrator Kevin Burkett in hopes of
reaching a settlement.
"Historically, the employer has paralleled ONA's hospital central
collective agreement, but it reneged on all prior agreed-to items,
including monetary items," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.
"It is unacceptable and extremely unfair that these health care
professionals, who are essential to the overall care of the patients of
Lakeridge Health, have been without a collective agreement for more
than two years. It is a blatant lack of respect."
Lakeridge Social Workers help patients in all areas, including oncology,
medical and pediatrics, overcome difficulties and improve their quality
of life by providing information, referrals and counseling. Registered
Respiratory Therapists are highly skilled practitioners of
cardio-respiratory health care and disease management. They work at all
four hospital sites.
While these members head to arbitration, a three-person Independent
Assessment Committee concluded hearings yesterday into the concerns of
Registered Nurses (RNs) at Lakeridge Health's Oshawa 36-bed inpatient
surgical unit, who say staffing levels are inadequate for safe patient
care. Since 2009, the RNs have been waiting for their employer to
implement the "all-RN skills mix" for this unit, which the hospital
itself identified was required, but multiple changes to Lakeridge
Health's leadership team have been a major barrier to moving forward.
The RNs believe the highly acute nature and the complex condition of
patients in this unit mean they require the skills and knowledge that
RNs possess. Research is clear that death and complications are reduced
with higher RN staffing levels. The committee will discuss the issues
and return with a report and recommendations for resolving them.
ONA is the union representing 55,000 front-line RNs, social workers,
registered respiratory therapists, allied health professionals and more
than 12,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario
hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community,
industry and clinics.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association
For further information:
Ontario Nurses' Association
Ruth Featherstone (416) 964-8833, ext. 2267