Ontario Nurses Support Legal Aid Lawyers' Effort to Join a Union

TORONTO, Oct. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - This afternoon, members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), Canada's largest nurses' union, will join lawyers employed by Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) in a rally at the provincial government agency's head office.

The rally, 1:00 p.m. at 40 Dundas Street West, is in support of this predominately female group of professional employees who are currently trying to join a union.

"Nurses know what it's like to be told, 'no,' you don't deserve the same democratic right to collectively bargain your working conditions as similar groups of employees that are male-dominated," said Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, President of ONA and a renal transplant nurse from Hamilton.

"When we began organizing 40 years ago, the government, at first, refused to recognize nurses as union members. We eventually prevailed, as I know our Legal Aid lawyer colleagues will, and our patients, our communities, and our province's economy are better off because we did."

Legal Aid lawyers are the only group of lawyers employed by the provincial public sector that have not yet had their right to collective bargaining recognized.

More than 80 per cent of Legal Aid lawyers have indicated their intent to collectively bargain, but the LAO senior management has so far ignored their requests to join a union, refusing to even meet with them to discuss the matter.

"Attorney General John Gerretsen has already confirmed that Legal Aid lawyers should be able to exercise their right to collectively bargain," said Haslam-Stroud. "Nurses across Ontario are calling on Bob Ward, CEO of Legal Aid Ontario, to formally recognize these employees as a bargaining unit."

ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line Registered Nurses and allied health professionals and more than 14,000 nursing student affiliate-members providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry, and clinics.

Image with caption: "_ONA rally sign: "Nurses support Legal Aid lawyers." Ontario nurses support Legal Aid lawyers' effort to join a union._ (CNW Group/Ontario Nurses' Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131018_C5070_PHOTO_EN_32222.jpg

SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information:

Ontario Nurses' Association
Sheree Bond 416-964-1979 ext.2430; 416-986-8240;  shereeb@ona.org
Ken Marciniec 416-964-1979 ext.2306; 416-803-6066; kenm@ona.org


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