TORONTO, Jan. 29, 2015 /CNW/ - Approximately 3,500 Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) healthcare professionals may be forced to take strike action Friday morning. The employers walked away from mediation and have refused to provide wage increases comparable to the other 57,000 Ontario nurses in hospitals, public health and long-term care facilities.
Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) CCAC leaders are recommending that members reject the employers' disrespectful offer at strike votes being held tonight. These healthcare professionals have already taken a two-year wage freeze in their last contract, which expired March 31, 2014 and like our other members, deserve a reasonable wage increase.
These essential professionals include Care Coordinators, Direct Care Nurse Practitioners, Rapid Response Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses and allied health professionals who provide care through Community Care Access Centres across Ontario.
They assess their patients and develop personalized care plans, arrange services in the home and community and provide direct care through Rapid Response, Palliative Care and Mental Health teams. They help patients to navigate our complex healthcare system, including coordinating hospital discharges and long-term care placements.
"We care for you in your homes, schools and communities," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "With government pushing more and more health services out of hospitals and into the community, we are your only guaranteed community health advocates. Being forced to withdraw our services is not an easy decision to make, but the employer has left us with no other choice."
Haslam-Stroud says that the, "employers – including CCAC CEOs who have awarded themselves generous increases over the past years – seem to have singled out and relegated our members to second-class citizen status. ONA remains committed to reaching a collective agreement that recognizes the important contribution our essential CCAC members make to our patients and our communities. We continue to be willing to return to the bargaining table at any time."
The strike votes will take place for CCACs in the catchment areas of the North West LHIN, North East LHIN, North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, South East LHIN, South West LHIN, Erie-St. Clair LHIN, Central East LHIN, Central LHIN, Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN and Waterloo-Wellington LHIN.
ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care, the community, public health, clinics and industry.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association