TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2015 /CNW/ - As thousands of Community Care Access Centre health professionals continue to walk the picket lines across most of Ontario, approximately 3,000 registered nurses working in Ontario nursing homes will hear details of a new contract that includes a wage increase tomorrow.
The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) members will learn details of the increase when their leaders meet in Toronto on Friday. The nurses have been successful in fighting off concessions from their employers – most of whom are private, for-profit companies – to gut RN staff caring for frail and elderly patients.
"It is truly shameful that these greedy for-profit companies wanted to maximize their profit by taking even more registered nursing care away from our frail elderly patients, many of whom suffer from multiple, complex illnesses," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "It's interesting that the same negotiator for the CCAC employers was used by these for-profit homes and by the hospitals, where arbitrators have ordered wage increases. It's time for these CCAC employers to step up to the plate."
The wage increase for nursing home ONA members will partially close the wage gap between RNs working in Ontario hospitals and those working in homes for the aged. Meanwhile, the approximately 3,000 CCAC health professionals forced on strike last Friday continue to call on their employers to get back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer.
"The employers and our government should be sitting up and taking note of the nursing home award," said Haslam-Stroud. "Our striking CCAC Health Professionals are a pivotal part of the health-care system in this province and deserve the same respect given in the contracts of our nursing home, homes for the aged, public health and hospital nurses."
ONA members working in CCACs include Care Coordinators, who are registered nurses, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, social workers, speech therapists and team assistants and other highly qualified professionals. They assess their patients and develop personalized care plans for them, arrange services in the home or the community and provide direct care through Rapid Response nursing teams, mental health teams in schools, and palliative care teams. Care coordinators are there for patients when they are discharged from hospital and arrange placements in long-term care facilities.
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