Ontario nurses celebrate 40 years of their union

TORONTO, Sept. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) members across Ontario are poised to celebrate Labour Day 2012.

In Toronto, ONA members will march in the annual Labour Day parade tomorrow; nurses in Barrie will co- host a community picnic and ONA members will join in marches in other communities to mark this important event.

"The more than 59,000 members of ONA appreciate the value of union membership since forming their own union almost 40 years ago and working together to raise the respect for their professions as well as improve pay, working conditions and most importantly, patient care quality," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.

"It is because of quality patient care that more than 3,000 nurses and allied health professionals have approached ONA and joined the organization in 2012. They know, and research has proved, that the patients and clients that ONA members care for have better health outcomes in unionized environments than in those that are not unionized. That is foremost in ONA members' minds as we mark Labour Day," she says.

"Our members have worked together through ONA to improve patient care and protect their own health and well-being because when they do that the health outcomes of those they serve are improved." Prior to the union, RNs in Ontario were treated disrespectfully, earned very little pay and had no say in many of the decisions that impacted their patients' care and health outcomes."

It is the ability to freely collectively bargain over many, many years that has opened the door to mechanisms and processes that allow ONA members to address and resolve the professional and quality patient and client issues that best serve Ontarians. Without that, the patients and the clients they serve would suffer. Health care organizations' budgets should not be the sole driver of how health care is delivered, believes Haslam-Stroud.

"As we mark Labour Day, we urge all Ontarians to appreciate the work of this union, which has improved the nursing care they receive. Unions have also improved many aspects of workers' lives and of society overall."

ONA is the union representing 59,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals as well as more than 13,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

www.ona.org; www.Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; www.Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information:

Ontario Nurses' Association
Sheree Bond 
Cell: 416-986-8240 or e-mail: shereeb@ona.org

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