TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2011 /CNW/ - Over 3,000 Registered Nurses and allied
health professionals of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) who work
as Case Managers, Placement Coordinators, Nurse Practitioners and as
other health professionals at 10 of Ontario's 14 Community Care Access
Centres (CCACs) have given their negotiating team an overwhelming
95-per-cent strike mandate. These members have now entered the critical
final days of bargaining and will be in mediation tomorrow. If the
parties do not reach an agreement, these health professionals will be
on strike on October 3.
ONA members help those in their communities navigate the health care
system, ensuring their clients can access the right care at the right
time and in the right place. They coordinate all heath care services in
the community for more than nine million Ontarians. They oversee health
services and home care for our frail elderly, those being discharged
from hospital, and children requiring nursing care, speech therapy,
occupational therapy and physiotherapy in homes and schools.
A strike would leave communities across the province with minimal access
to health care services that these registered nurses, nurse
practitioners, registered practical nurses, occupational and
physiotherapists and social workers co-ordinate for the public.
"The last thing we want is to be forced into strike action. In fact, the
last strike in this sector was more than 12 years ago," says ONA
President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Nevertheless, if the employers'
offer leaves us with no alternative, we will stand up for our right to
a fair contract that properly values the important contribution of
these professionals to health care."
A strike would result in an increase in wait times in hospital emergency
rooms, a backlog of patients held in medical and surgical hospital
beds. With no further admissions, wait lists for long-term care beds
will increase as placement coordinators will not be available to
support the elderly moving into long-term care beds. Children requiring
services under both home and school programs would also experience
Haslam-Stroud notes that issues of workload and professional
responsibility, sick leave, wages and access to personal protective
equipment should there be a pandemic are keeping the two sides from
reaching an agreement.
"The merger of 42 CCACs to align with Ontario's 14 LHINs did not reduce
the management or administration levels at CCACs as expected," she
notes. "For example, at the North West CCAC, our members have seen a
27-per-cent increase in administration - and this does nothing to
enhance the provision of the right care at the right time in the right
place for community members."
Mediation is scheduled for September 28 and 29.
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 communities, hospitals, long-term care facilities,
public health, industry and clinics.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association
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