CCAC employers remain unwilling to negotiate a fair deal: Contract for RNs and health professionals will be sent to arbitration

TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2015 /CNW/ - More than 3,000 Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) registered nurses (RNs) and health professionals will resume providing health care to their patients and the community on Tuesday. The ongoing labour dispute with nine CCAC employers will now be sent to arbitration.

"During this strike, there has been a colossal waste of health care dollars as the employer spent taxpayers' money foolishly on catered meals for management, overtime, strike-breaking security firms and high-priced lawyers, and who knows what else – with complete disregard for the public purse," said Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stoud, RN.

"We always believed that our offer of several months ago to go to interest arbitration was fair and reasonable and best for our patients that we serve. Unfortunately, it took our members' resolve when forced out on to the picket lines to bring the government and employers to their senses."

Haslam-Stroud notes that ONA offered the option of arbitration some time ago, but "these greedy CEOs would rather have our members frozen out on the picket lines than show these health care professionals the respect they so highly deserve." 

"The negotiating process with this employer was extremely difficult, and was brought to a new low this morning when a number of CEOs thumbed their noses on the commitments made at the table," said Haslam-Stroud. "The continual lack of respect shown by the Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres and the CCAC employers has bled from the negotiating table to today with their premature back-to-work disclosure."

Haslam-Stroud says that, "this just another example of the utter arrogance of the CCAC employers, who never bargained fairly from day one. They, along with their government allies, have forced this unnecessary strike. It is outrageous that they have remained immovable as our patients have had to do without the vital care and services our RNs and health professionals provide."

"There is still time for these employers to step up to the plate and do the right thing – give CCAC health professionals wage improvements like ONA's 57,000 RNs and allied health professionals have already received," she said. "Stop continuing to waste taxpayers' money and avoid the cost of arbitration." Haslam-Stroud also says that "the strong showing of unity by our members and the incredible support of our communities gave us a voice that the employers and government could no longer ignore." 

These 3,000 health professionals include: Care Coordinators, Direct Care Nurse Practitioners, Rapid Response Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses and allied health professionals who provide care through Community Care Access Centres across Ontario. In addition, ONA has CCAC members who are respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers and team assistants as well as other highly qualified professionals. They assess their patients' health-care needs, develop care plans, and deliver health care services for their patients in the home and the community from birth to death.

ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care, the community, public health, clinics and industry.

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 986-8240; shereeb@ona.org; Katherine Russo, (647) 539-1925; katheriner@ona.org; Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

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http://www.ona.org

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