WATERLOO, ON, March 2, 2017 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) public health nurses working at the Region of Waterloo are absolutely insulted by their employer's proposals to gut nurses' benefits.
The 131 ONA members – including Public Health Nurses, Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses, Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Specialist Registered Nurses – have been seeking a new contract following the expiration of their previous contract last June 30.
Conciliation talks were held on February 28 but ended after the employer tabled these unacceptable concessions.
"Bargaining has been very different this round versus our past experiences with this employer. After seven days at the bargaining table, these highly skilled professionals are insulted, disrespected, disillusioned, and devalued by this employer," said ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN. "Our dedicated nurses work to ensure that the 575,000 residents of the Region of Waterloo remain healthy and well, yet their employer has been absolutely disrespectful. The employer flatly refused to listen to ONA members' counter-proposal, ending talks."
Mediation is scheduled for March 27. Failing resolution, the nurses may be forced on strike as early as March 29.
They provide services that include chronic disease prevention, monitoring, investigating and controlling infectious disease outbreaks – such as influenza, meningitis, measles, tuberculosis – Sexual Health Clinics, provide blood-borne infection testing and monitoring for such diseases as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and B. They provide harm reduction strategies including needle exchange programs that include naloxone training, dispensing and counselling. Public health nurses provide sexual health services in area high schools and youth clinics. Other supports include pregnancy counselling, prenatal support, and support for high-risk families. They run breastfeeding clinics and partner with multiple community agencies.
McKenna says the nurses "also provide visits to new parents so our youngest citizens get a healthy start to life. In short, the work our nurses do is vital to this community."
ONA members will hold an information picket to educate the public. McKenna urges the community to support the valuable nurses of the Region of Waterloo, who do not want to be forced to withdraw their services.
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: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, cell: (416) 986-8240, [email protected]; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369, cell: (416) 801-8958, [email protected]; Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses