PETERBOROUGH, ON, March 12, 2015 /CNW/ - Public Health Nurses (PHNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) at the Peterborough County-City Health Unit have ratified an agreement with their employer, averting a possible strike and disruption of public health services in the Peterborough community.
The 32 PHNs and RNs from Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) Local 3 would have been in a legal strike position on March 13. The three-year agreement provides a signing bonus and an average wage increase of 1.33 per cent per year.
"After an extremely difficult round of negotiations, this agreement is a modest move in the right direction, however, these PHNs and RNs remain the lowest-paid among the region's surrounding public health units," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.
"The vast majority of Ontario RNs have received wage increases and our members at this unit deserve no less. With a wage disparity as great as 23 per cent compared to the other health units, our skilled and valuable members at the Peterborough health unit need wages that will prevent the gap in salary from widening further."
During the last round of bargaining, these nurses voluntarily accepted a two-year wage freeze.
In addition, the nurses' new wage rates will be further squeezed in that they will now have to pay the employer $700 per year for parking when they move into the new Peterborough health unit building.
"Our members believe the modest wage increase reflects the health unit's need to redirect money into the new building and doesn't do enough to redress the inequity in their wages compared to their colleagues in other health units," said Haslam-Stroud.
Haslam-Stroud added that the nurses are relieved not to have been forced on strike to achieve a deal, and look forward to continuing to provide vital public health services to the Peterborough community.
PHNs are vital to the health and well-being of those in their communities. They provide wellness promotion and illness prevention programs, including follow-up and home visits for families with newborns, provide 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
For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369