Don't make war on health care workers to deal with a handful of police
and fire awards
TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2013 /CNW/ - Hospital and long-term care workers urged
Ontario's Premier today to question the claims of municipalities that
misrepresent arbitration outcomes and ignore the fact that the majority
of municipal essential service contracts are freely negotiated.
"Municipalities freely negotiate over 90 per cent of their essential
service contracts. Only a small number go to arbitration. The
municipalities' call for changes to arbitration rings hollow and should
be resisted by the Premier," said Michael Hurley president of the
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) the hospital division of the
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario.
Hurley called on Premier Kathleen Wynne not to make war on health care
workers to satisfy a renewed push by the Association of Municipalities
of Ontario (AMO) to bias the arbitration system in favour of
CUPE represents over 70,000 health care workers who are deemed essential
and do not have the right to strike. In place of that right, Ontario's
hundreds of thousands health care workers (85% of whom are women) have
access to an independent arbitration process to resolve issues when
bargaining reaches an impasse.
Far from being overly generous, wage settlements in the health care
sector - whether freely negotiated or arbitrated - lag freely
negotiated wage increases in the public and private sectors. OCHU and
its 30,000 hospital sector members have freely negotiated contracts for
the last four rounds of hospital central bargaining and not accessed
"In the health sector both collective bargaining and arbitration are
working well. Tampering with either should be avoided," said Hurley,
pointing to the recent turmoil in the education sector caused by
provincial interference in collective bargaining.
With only a small percentage of municipal contract negotiations with
police and fire decided at arbitration "we fear that the municipalities
are using the province as the heavy in their negotiations with
municipal emergency services. We strongly urge the Premier to deal with
the municipalities and not undermine the rights of health care workers
to independent arbitration," Hurley said.
SOURCE: Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)
For further information:
Michael Hurley President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) 416-884-0770
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications 416-559-9300