Legal strike date is Thursday
LONDON, Nov. 12, 2014 /CNW/ - Public Health Nurses (PHNs) working at the Middlesex-London Health Unit are in mediation talks today in an effort to reach a new contract and avoid a lock-out or strike that would harm the community.
The 158 PHNs – registered nurses and a nurse practitioner who are members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) – have been negotiating a new contract with their employer since May and have been working without a contract since March.
"There are 158 highly qualified PHNs working at this health unit who work to monitor for infectious diseases in the community, promote healthy living and hold immunization clinics," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Our PHNs also provide support services for families, such as the Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program as well as a host of other health services to ensure the people of Middlesex-London remain well."
The nurses say they are hopeful that an agreement will be reached. If an agreement cannot be reached, resulting in a strike or lockout, the community will lose the following important health services: Sexual Health Services and Clinics, Infectious Disease Services, Vaccine Services, Tuberculosis Skin Testing, Breast Feeding and Well-Baby Clinics, Parenting and Prenatal Classes, School Health and new baby home visiting.
"No nurse ever wants to go out on strike," says Haslam-Stroud. "We want to be there to ensure the community is safe. However, it is time for a fair compensation package that reflects the norm for public health unit nurses across the province."
Haslam-Stroud says that it is "incumbent upon the management of the London-Middlesex Health Unit to demonstrate some respect for the highly educated PHNs working to keep the community safe. The citizens of this region depend on the knowledge and skills of our PHNs to provide them with the education and services they need to have the best, healthiest lives possible."
The Middlesex-London Health Unit has also failed to provide the PHNs with benefits that are standard throughout the industry, and generally resisted reaching a fair contract even as neighbouring Public Health Units have done so.
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 facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
Image with caption: ""Fairness for Public Health Nurses" 158 public health nurses at Middlesex-London Health Unit are in mediation talks Wednesday trying to reach a new collective agreement and avoid a lock-out or strike that would disrupt services for the community. (CNW Group/Ontario Nurses' Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141112_C7514_PHOTO_EN_7881.jpg
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association
For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext.2430; cell: (416) 986-8240, firstname.lastname@example.org; Ken Marciniec, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2306; cell: (416) 803-6066, email@example.com; Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses