NEWMARKET, ON, Jan. 17, 2018 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is urging the Regional Municipality of York to negotiate a respectful contract with its 250 dedicated Public Health Nurses.
"Our Public Health Nurses work to keep their community healthy and safe," said ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. "Our highly educated and highly skilled nurses run vaccination clinics, including influenza vaccinations, provide pregnancy counseling, prenatal support and support for high-risk families. They run breastfeeding clinics, partner with multiple community agencies and provide visits to new parents to our youngest community members get a healthy start to life."
McKenna notes that Public Health Nurses also provide public health services, prevent disease, support child development, protect the community's safety and promotes healthy lifestyles.
The Public Health Nurses have been working without a contract since April 1, 2017. There have been five days of bargaining and two days of conciliation, and while some issues have been agreed to in principle, there continue to be outstanding issues. The two sides will enter mediation on January 25. Should mediation fail, the Public Health Nurses will be put in a legal strike position the first week of February.
"This employer is demanding concessions from the hard-working Public Health Nurses, even as they continue to provide invaluable services the Region of York," notes McKenna. "This is quite simply unacceptable. Nurses do not wish to be forced to withdraw their skilled services and care from their community; the employer should rethink their tactics and instead, come to the table prepared to offer a respectful contract."
Bargaining this round has been a very different experience compared with past experiences with this employer, McKenna says. "After five days at the bargaining table, our members feel insulted, disrespected, disillusioned and devalued by their employer. The employer has flatly refused to listen to ONA members' counterproposal, ending the talks. It's well past time for Public Health Nurses to be recognized for the high-quality, vital services they provide to their communities," said McKenna. "We expect the employer to do their part and ensure the people of the Region of York continue to receive those services, uninterrupted."
ONA is the union representing 65,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses Association