THUNDER BAY, ON, Feb. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Thunder Bay District Public Health Unit Nurses (PHNs) are the lowest-paid public health nurses in all of Ontario and have been without a contract for more than one year.
The 58 PHNs - members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) - spent their lunch breaks holding an information picket outside the health unit building, asking the public for support.
PHNs provide immunizations, including flu vaccinations, and support services for families, such as the Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program. They also conduct surveillance of communicable diseases in the community.
"PHNs are vital to keeping the public in Thunder Bay and surrounding communities healthy," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "The residents of Conmee, Dorion, Red Rock, Schreiber, Terrace Bay, Thunder Bay and other communities depend on the knowledge and skills of our registered nurses and nurse practitioner to provide them with the education and services they need to have the best, healthiest life possible. Yet in this community, they have been forced to work without a fair contract for more than a year."
The nurses have been without a contract since December, 2012. Negotiations broke down on February 5 and ONA is exploring conciliation dates.
"Despite the incredible value our nurses provide, the Thunder Bay District Public Health Unit has cut front-line nurses and reduced hours in its branch offices," says Haslam-Stroud. "The excessive workloads have an impact on the community and are wrong-headed.
"Thunder Bay and the surrounding communities value and appreciate the knowledge our PHNs bring," she says. "It's time the representatives on the Board of Health did so as well."
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 facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association
For further information:
Ontario Nurses' Association
(416) 964-1979 ext.2430;
cell: (416) 986-8240;
(416) 964-1979 ext. 2369