TORONTO, June 5, 2019 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), the union representing 65,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, says that government's announced interference in free collective bargaining will further impact the level of care that nurses are able to provide to Ontarians.
ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN, says, "There was no meaningful dialogue or exchange of ideas or options prior to this announcement. The government refused ONA's request for further information. In the last 10 years, real wages for Ontario hospital nurses and health-care professionals have decreased by more than five per cent." McKenna notes that Ontario already has the lowest RN-to-population ratio of all Canadian provinces, the fewest number of hospital beds per capita and spends less than all other provinces on government services.
"Health and social service-sector workers have seen below-inflation wage increases, and nurses have been working with record-low staffing levels, which equates to less than adequate numbers of nurses at their bedside" notes ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. "Government interference in our process of negotiating collective agreements will simply drive more desperately needed registered nurses out of the province to work in other jurisdictions."
McKenna says that, "Ontario has a revenue problem – not a spending problem – and must focus on how to increase revenue. Disrupting nurses' wages is an attack on both nurses and the patients they care for."
ONA will vigorously defend our members' rights, says McKenna. "The free collective bargaining process must be allowed to continue. Nurses' collective agreements set out the working conditions under which care is provided to patients. Attacking nurses' rights to freely negotiate will benefit no one, especially the patients who need and deserve quality care."
ONA is the union representing more than 65,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 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: Sheree Bond, (416) 986-8240; [email protected]