Respiratory Therapists & Social Workers Say Lakeridge Health Stalling, Not Negotiating:

Health care providers forced into arbitration for the fourth time in 12 years

OSHAWA, ON, Dec. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Respiratory Therapists and Social Workers working for Lakeridge Health say that the organization is stalling, not negotiating, and that they are being forced into interest arbitration for the fourth time in 12 years.

The health care professionals, represented by the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), have been working without a contract since December 31, 2010.

"The lack of respect being shown these dedicated and skilled health care professions is quite outrageous," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Lakeridge delayed bargaining until mid-November, 2012, and it came to a grinding halt on November 28th.

"This is the fourth time in 12 years that Lakeridge Health has used these stalling tactics, leaving our members in limbo."

Unlike most Ontario hospitals, Lakeridge Health has made it clear they are not willing to follow the pattern established by provincial comparators. Historically, Lakeridge Health has not been willing to include this group in central bargaining nor follow the patterns set by their central agreements (with 59,000 hospital nurses and allied health professionals). Instead, Lakeridge simply employs stalling tactics.

"This group of health care professionals deserves to be treated with respect and should be valued for the excellent patient care they provide each and every day," says Haslam-Stroud.

Respiratory therapists are highly skilled health care professionals. They evaluate, treat and maintain the cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) function of their patients. Respiratory therapists have specialized medical expertise and use advanced medical technology to treat patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly.

Social workers are part of the hospital's treatment team. They provide a link between the team and the family as well as with community resources, contribute to the care, treatment and rehabilitation of the aged and of physically or mentally ill individuals, and the care of disabled persons.

"Patients recognize the value of the care, expertise and knowledge of our Respiratory Therapists and Social Workers," says Haslam-Stroud. "It's a shame Lakeridge Health management can't do the same."

ONA is the union representing 59,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 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:

Ontario Nurses' Association

Sheree Bond
(416) 964-8833, ext. 2430/cell: (416) 986-8240,

Ruth Featherstone
(416) 964-8833, ext. 2267,

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