ONA Hospital Nurses Vote Overwhelmingly in Favour of New Contract

    TORONTO, March 20 /CNW/ - Ontario's hospital-sector nurses have voted 96
per cent in favour of a new contract.
    Negotiations were completed in February between the Ontario Nurses'
Association (ONA), the union representing 50,000 hospital nurses and allied
health professionals and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) on behalf of
its participating hospital members.
    "Our members have clearly expressed their support for this agreement,"
says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, "and ONA is committed to
continuing to work to improve the quality of work life for our front-line
registered nurses. We need to address issues such as heavy workloads, violence
and safe work environments."

    The three-year agreement includes salary increases of 3.25 per cent, 3.0
and 3.0 per cent and features a lump sum payment of up to $3,250. The deal
also includes:

    -   Vacation, benefit and premium improvements;
    -   Contract language relating to the improvement of workplace safety
        (stemming from the late Justice Archie Campbell's final SARS report
        recommendation that the precautionary principle be adopted);
    -   Commitments to address violence in the workplace, including
        disruptive physician behavior;
    -   Dental benefits for early retirees (aged 60 to 65).

    "This collective agreement won't resolve the nursing shortage," notes
Haslam-Stroud, "but it provides the framework for working together with the
employers to improve the issues facing our members. We continue to be
committed to providing quality care to our patients."

    The Ontario Nurses' Association is the union representing 54,000
front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals working in
Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community and

For further information:

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416)
964-8833, ext. 2430; cell: (416) 986-8240

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