LONDON, ON, Oct. 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Public Health Nurses (PHNs) working at the Middlesex-London Health Unit are scheduled to head to mediation talks on November 12 in pursuit of a new contract. The PHNs have been negotiating a new contract with their employer since May and have a legal strike deadline of November 13.
The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) members are responsible for monitoring for infectious diseases in the community, promoting healthy living and holding immunization clinics. They support services for families, such as the Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program and provide a host of other health services to ensure the people of Middlesex-London remain well.
ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, says these highly educated and experienced nurses are "vital to keeping the public healthy. Members of these communities 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. Yet in this community, they are paid less than PHNs in neighbouring communities and are being offered wages that fail to even keep up with inflation."
The nurses have been without a contract since the end of March, 2014.
"Despite the incredible value our nurses provide, the Middlesex-London Health Unit has also failed to provide its nurses with benefits that are standard throughout the industry, and generally resisted reaching a fair contract even as neighbouring Public Health Units have done so.
"Middlesex-London Health Unit management should be aware of the enormous need for the services these PHNs provide, especially as the world faces outbreaks of infectious disease," says Haslam-Stroud. "Residents highly value the services and care they provide in family planning and breastfeeding clinics, in making home visits, as school nurses and in providing prenatal and parenting classes. Certainly our communities will rely on their expertise more than ever in coming months."
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.
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association
For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-1979 ext.2430, cell: (416) 986-8240; [email protected]; Ruth Featherstone, (416) 964-1979 ext. 2267