HALDIMAND-NORFOLK, ON, April 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Public Health Nurses providing care for the Haldimand-Norfolk community will be on strike as of tomorrow.
The Corporation of Norfolk County has forced the 25 public health nurses - members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) - on strike after insisting on gutting their collective agreement and refusing to negotiate a contract that respects the value the nurses provide to the Haldimand-Norfolk community.
A special council meeting was held this afternoon where council rejected a counterproposal from ONA, forcing the strike, which deprives the community of their public health services.
The nurses invite the public to support them on the picket lines commencing tomorrow at noon just east of the intersection of Highways 3 and 24.
"A strike is the last thing that our nurses wanted," notes ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "We had all hoped that council would step up to the plate and come through for the community's sake and it's shameful that the employer has failed to do so. The public health nurses are very aware of the impact a strike may have and are deeply concerned about withdrawing the valuable services they provide to their community; however, these nurses deserve to be respected and offered a fair collective agreement for the care they provide."
Haslam-Stroud says it appears that there are two sets of rules in Haldimand-Norfolk. "There's a set of rules for management and a set of rules for public health nurses," she said. "This is the first strike that has occurred among ONA members in the nine years that I have been ONA President. I am absolutely horrified that the council in my own community cannot negotiate a fair contract with the nurses who protect and care for my family, friends and neighbours."
Public health nurses offer a myriad of services that protect the community and individuals from infectious disease outbreaks, ensure healthy babies, help prevent injuries in seniors, provide immunizations, manage outbreaks, provide suicide intervention and counseling, parenting support and medical services for expectant mothers.
The nurses have been without a contract for 10 months and have been in negotiations since last October.
ONA is the union representing 59,000 front-line RNs and allied health professionals and more than 13,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario communities, hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, industry and clinics.
For further information:
Ontario Nurses' Association
Sheree Bond (416) 964-1979, ext. 2430; cell: (416) 986-8240, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melanie Levenson (416) 964-1979, ext. 2369; email@example.com