PETERBOROUGH, ON, Feb. 17, 2015 /CNW/ - Public Health nurses and registered nurses at the Peterborough County City Health Unit have voted in favour of strike action.
The 32 public health and RNs – members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) Local 3 – will be in a legal strike position as of March 13, 2015.
"While the vast majority of Ontario's RNs have received small wage increases, ONA members with the Peterborough County City Health Unit are the lowest-paid in the surrounding four health units," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.
"The wage disparity here for our invaluable public health members is as much as 23 per cent."
Haslam-Stroud notes that during the last round of bargaining, the nurses voluntarily accepted a two-year wage freeze. For the next collective agreement, the nurses are looking for a fair wage increase comparable to Ontario's 57,000 hospital, long-term care and other public health nurses.
"They are not looking to close the wage gap," said Haslam-Stroud, "but merely prevent it from widening."
'We are asking our employer to acknowledge the important work we do by putting a fair and equitable offer on the table – one that prevents us for falling further behind the other public health and registered nurses in the area," said Bargaining Unit President, Diane Lockman, RN.
Public Health Nurses provide wellness promotion and illness prevention programs in the community, including follow-up and home visits for families with newborns, immunization and sexual health clinics, follow up for infectious diseases such as measles, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and influenza.
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