Conciliation Talks Fail: Niagara Region Public Health Nurses to Prepare for Next Steps

    TORONTO, June 5 /CNW/ - Public health nurses with the Regional
Municipality of Niagara Public Health Unit will meet next week to discuss next
steps following the failure of conciliation talks.
    The 154 nurses, members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), have
voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike. ONA will meet late next week with the
nurses to vote on the employer's final offer and discuss whether they will
accept the offer - that is not recommended by the negotiating team - and
prepare for a mediation session and strike.
    The Regional Municipality continues to seek concessions related to sick
leave and is refusing to provide parental leave top-up to a female-dominant
work force.
    "Strong public health services are more imperative now than ever," notes
ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "For the Employer to be seeking
concessions and inferior collective agreement rights from these vital
professionals who work to keep our communities safe and healthy is simply
wrong headed."
    The looming global pandemic threat is especially of concern to public
health in Niagara, which borders the United States and needs to ensure labour
harmony with its public health nurses.
    The 154 registered nurses affected provide public health services
including outbreak protection for the community (monitoring of outbreaks), flu
and hepatitis vaccine clinics, health education and promotion for families
with new babies, as well as sexual health clinics and education for the
Region's 440,000 residents.
    ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, says, "Public health is more
important than ever, and the safety of our communities depends on Public
Health Units that are functioning well and staffed with Public Health nurses
who bring the expertise and knowledge to their jobs to protect the community."

    ONA is the union representing 54,000 front-line registered nurses and
allied health professionals and 10,000 nursing students providing care in
hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics
and industry. ONA is celebrating 35 years of nursing advocacy - a proud past,
a powerful future.

For further information:

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Melanie Levenson,
(416) 964-8833, ext. 2369

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