Arbitration Award Affecting Ontario's Hospitals and Allied Health Professionals Released

TORONTO, June 17, 2011 /CNW/ - On Friday, June 17, 2011, a Board of Arbitration chaired by William Kaplan released an award affecting approximately 9,000 allied health professionals employed by 46 Ontario hospitals and represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. The new collective agreement covers the term from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2014.

The award provides for no base wage improvements in Years 1 and 2 of the new contract, and a 2.75% across-the-board increase to wages in Year 3. Lump sum payments were awarded in lieu of wage increases in each of Year 1 and Year 2. Additionally there was an awarded improvement to retiree benefits and a reduction in the payment of sick leave benefits; both are effective from Year 1 of the contract.

"We believe that this was a very good award in today's fiscally-constrained environment," said Tom Closson, President and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA). "It is clearly superior to almost any other recent award or agreement between Ontario's public and broader public sector employers and their unionized employees."

"Ontario's hospitals value the work that allied health professionals do every day, and offer these employees some of the best wages, benefits, work environments and opportunities for professional development anywhere," said Closson. As a result of this award, by 2013, a Registered Technologist (RT) beginning their career will earn $29.21 per hour, plus benefits, while a RT with 8 years experience will earn $39.17 per hour plus benefits. RT's represent the largest percentage of employees covered by this award.

Approximately 44% of allied health professionals working in Ontario hospitals are non-union. The OHA remains concerned that these valued employees are being treated unfairly because of the Government of Ontario's wage freeze for non-union hospital staff. Last year, allied health professionals represented by OPSEU received a 2.5% wage increase, while their non-union equivalents did not, and the wage freeze for non-union staff continues this year. This has created a fairness gap that cannot be filled, as per current government policy.

"The OHA continues to believe that all allied health professionals - and all hospital employees - should be treated and compensated equitably, whether they are unionized or not," said Closson. "We will continue to encourage the Government of Ontario to find a way to ensure that all of the highly-skilled professionals who provide patient care in hospitals are treated fairly."

SOURCE Ontario Hospital Association

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