TORONTO, Oct. 27 /CNW/ - Haldimand Norfolk public health nurses, members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), reached a tentative mediated settlement on October 26 with the Corporation of Norfolk County (Haldimand Norfolk Public Health Unit).
Terms of the agreement are confidential subject to ratification by both parties. The 31 nurses affected by the agreement will be holding their ratification vote on October 29, while the employer's ratification vote is slated for November 10.
"We're pleased to have reached an agreement on key outstanding issues and both parties are unanimously recommending acceptance of the collective agreement," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.
"Our six days of negotiations were difficult, and our nurses had strongly supported a strike mandate with a 90 per cent vote prior to mediation. If ratified, all parties can move forward and focus on providing vital public health services to the Haldimand Norfolk community at a particularly critical time, now that a second wave of H1N1 flu has begun to hit Ontario."
The public health nurses have been working without a contract since March 31, 2009 and would have been in a legal strike position effective 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 29.
"Public health nurses play such a pivotal role in illness prevention and educating the public on how to protect themselves from the spread of infectious diseases. Our nurses kept in mind throughout negotiations their responsibility to the community in light of the H1N1 outbreak," said Haslam-Stroud.
Haldimand Norfolk public health nurses provide such services as outbreak protection (monitoring outbreaks), flu and hepatitis vaccine clinics, health education and promotion for families with new babies, as well as sexual health clinics and education for the municipality's residents.
ONA is the union representing 54,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 10,000 nursing students providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association
For further information: For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369