Ontario's Hospitals Criticize Wage Award

TORONTO, Nov. 4 /CNW/ - Today, an Arbitration Board led by Owen Gray released its award in the matter between 44 Ontario hospitals and the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU).

The Gray Board of Arbitration awarded OPSEU 2.5% wage increases in 2009 and 2010, as well as certain enhancements to benefits. The wage increases awarded are significantly higher than recent settlements in the public sector, including the Ontario Public Service Settlement with OPSEU, the City of Toronto settlement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and hospital settlements with CUPE and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).

The award will increase the operating costs of the affected hospitals while not contributing to improved patient care.

Key Quote:

"The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is extremely disappointed that Arbitrator Gray chose to ignore the current and expected impact of the economic downturn on public sector finances generally, and on hospital funding specifically. This award is inconsistent with previous, freely-negotiated collective agreements and is, in the OHA's view, irresponsible. Hospitals could be forced to make further difficult decisions related to staffing and service levels in order to meet the terms of this award and balance their budgets. We believe that Arbitrator Gray's decision to ignore the prevailing economic circumstances clearly demonstrates why changes to the Hospitals Labour Disputes Arbitration Act (HLDAA) are urgently needed." - Tom Closson, President and CEO, OHA.

The text of the award is available at www.oha.com.

SOURCE Ontario Hospital Association

For further information: For further information: OHA Public Affairs, (416) 205-1433

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