Labour Day 2020: COVID-19 has strengthened the labour movement, ONA says

September 3, 2020

TORONTO (September 3, 2020) – As front-line registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and health-care professionals mark Labour Day 2020, the union representing 68,000 members across the province says the COVID-19 pandemic has reignited the labour movement.

“This has been an extraordinarily challenging year for those of us on the front lines of health care,” says Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Vicki McKenna, RN. “Despite risk to themselves and their families, front-line nurses and health-care professionals have stepped up throughout the pandemic, using their skills and knowledge to care for their patients, residents and clients.

“While they have done so, their provincial government has passed several pieces of anti-labour legislation, failed to provide proper protective equipment to those who need it, and botched its pandemic pay,” she says. “This has acted to strengthen the resolve of our front-line nurses and health-care professionals and reinforced their commitment to a strong labour movement.”

Labour Day 2020 will be marked virtually with much happening on social media. ONA’s theme for Labour Day 2020 is: ‘Unity. Solidarity. Strength.’

“This year has been a perfect storm, with a pandemic and attacks on nurses and health-care professionals and their rights,” notes McKenna. “These dedicated workers tend to put everyone else’s needs before their own. Having seen the impact of this government’s wage-suppression legislation, a botched pandemic-pay program and the threats to their Charter and labour rights, nurses and health-care professionals are now holding rallies, meeting with their MPPs and speaking out publicly. This government has strengthened the determination of the province’s nurses and health-care professionals to fight these moves and stand in solidarity against them.

“There may be no Labour Day parades or picnics in 2020,” she says, “but nurses and health-care professionals are in solidarity as never before,” McKenna says.

ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

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For more information:

Sheree Bond, 416-986-8240; shereeb@ona.org


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