Arbitration Award Released for Ontario Registered Nurses

TORONTO, June 3, 2011 /CNW/ - An arbitration award was released yesterday setting out the terms and conditions for a new three-year collective agreement for more than 50,000 Ontario registered nurses and allied health professionals - members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) - and some 137 Ontario hospitals.

The award provides lump sum payments in each of the first two years of the three-year contract and a 2.75-per-cent across-the-board increase to all classifications in year three.

In addition, the award provides benefit, premium (shift, weekend and responsibility pay) and vacation improvements, including health benefits for retirees. Other improvements include those addressing professional issues, leave issues, health and safety and contract enforcement.

ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, says "the agreement addresses the priority issues of the front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals - the backbone of health care. We also believe that the government's two-year restraint mandate has been met."

Haslam-Stroud notes that the value that nurses bring to patient care actually saves hospitals money. "Dollar for dollar, RNs are the best value in health care," she says. "Study after study has shown that RN care results in better health outcomes for patients, with lower morbidity (complication) and mortality (death) rates, and fewer readmissions to hospital."

The retiree benefits improvements are a key objective for this aging workforce, she notes. "Many registered nurses will be looking to retirement in the coming years, worsening an already serious nursing shortage."

The contract expires on March 31, 2014. ONA is also in provincial bargaining for members in Community Care Access Centres and Nursing Homes.

ONA is the union representing 57,000 front-line RNs and 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
Sheree Bond   (416) 964-1979, ext. 2430; cell (416) 986-8240
Katherine Russo   (416) 964-1979 ext. 2214



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