Conciliation fails, Board of Health refuses to bargain
SAULT STE. MARIE, ON, Oct. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Algoma Public Health Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners may be forced on strike following the failure of conciliation and the failure of the Board of Health to provide a mandate to bargain to the employer.
The nurses - members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) - provide public health services to residents in the District of Algoma, including Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa, Blind River, Elliot Lake and many of the surrounding small towns and townships. They are the lowest-paid public health nurses in the province.
"The Board of Health's actions have made it clear that they have no respect for the invaluable services our public health nurses provide to the community," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "The Board is also failing to respect the community they are here to serve by forcing our nurses into withdrawing their services."
The nurses are asking for nominal improvements that reflect the value they provide to this community.
"While Algoma nurses remain the lowest-paid of all their peers, the Algoma Medical Officer of Health has received a salary increase of $106,000 in just three years," notes Haslam-Stroud.
As the nurses prepare for a strike, ONA will file bad-faith bargaining charges against the Board of Health. The nurses are in a legal strike position on November 1, 2012. Flu clinics are scheduled to run November through January and may be at risk of cancellation should the nurses be forced to take job action.
The nurses will be joining CUPE members, who have also been without a contract for a year, outside the Board of Health meeting tonight to participate in sharing information regarding their work.
ONA is the union representing 59,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals as well as more than 13,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association
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