LONDON, ON, Jan. 23, 2017 /CNW/ - Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) members working for the South West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action if ongoing negotiations for a new collective agreement do not result in a fair deal.
"These dedicated, highly skilled, highly educated nurses and allied health professionals are vital to the counties of Bruce, Grey, Huron, Perth, London-Middlesex, Oxford, Elgin and Norfolk," says ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN. "Our members who work as Care Coordinators expertly assess their patients, working closely with physicians and community support agencies in arranging care plans for care in their homes (including palliative care services), community or schools. Our members also provide excellent direct care through Rapid Response nursing, Mental Health and Addiction nursing in schools, and Geriatric nursing teams. Care Coordinators connect patients with family doctors and are there for patients being discharged from hospitals. They assess patients for eligibility for placement in long-term care facilities, making this transition smoother and less stressful. They truly are system navigators for patients in our health-care system."
The strike vote was conducted following two days of negotiations in December and January on behalf of 461 members, who have been working without a contract since March 31, 2016.
"The work our CCAC members do ensures that patients' care needs are accurately assessed, that those needing support for a range of conditions receive that help in a timely manner," says McKenna. "From school children to those at the end of life, our members play a key role in their health and wellbeing."
McKenna notes that while ONA CCAC members do not wish to be forced to withdraw their services, they are united in their goal of negotiating a fair collective agreement that respects the value they bring to their communities and addresses key workload issues that can negatively affect the care they are able to provide.
"As health-care providers, our patients' care needs are paramount to us and we are optimistic that a negotiated contract can be achieved," says McKenna. "Negotiations are scheduled to continue on February 6, and ONA members will be at the table in solidarity. We expect the employer to come with the goal of reaching a settlement."
ONA is the union representing 62,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as almost 16,000 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, Ruth Featherstone, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2267, [email protected]; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369, cell: (416) 801-8958, [email protected]