Contract Talks Break Down for Hospital RNs, Health-Care Professionals, says Ontario Nurses’ Association
March 3, 2023
TORONTO, ON, March 3, 2023 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) says that contract talks between ONA hospital registered nurses and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) have broken down and will now head to arbitration in early May.
“This round of negotiations has been incredibly difficult and frustrating,” says ONA Interim Provincial President Bernie Robinson, RN. “ONA’s elected bargaining team went into talks with a strong and clear set of priorities that come from our front lines, and they have been met with an extremely disappointing and disrespectful response from the employers. Nurses are fed up with this government and employers expressing appreciation for the work we do, while simultaneously failing to provide working conditions that that truly show the value of what we do each day. This system is being held together by the nurses and health-care professionals who have shown incredible dedication to their patients. Words are empty. What counts is a contract that provides better staffing levels, wages and benefits, so that we can provide better patient care.”
Robinson adds that ONA would have preferred to have reached a negotiated contract; the last time that happened in Ontario for hospital-sector ONA members was 2011. Negotiations began in January; mediation was held this week for a contract that would impact approximately 60,000 RNs and health-care professionals who provide care in Ontario hospitals.
“The need to recruit and retain nurses is more urgent than it’s ever been,” says Robinson. “Our nurses and health-care professionals are highly educated and valued by employers in other jurisdictions. They have options – and are leaving the profession, the public sector or the province to work where they receive respect. The actions of this provincial government and now the failure to come to the table with a decent proposal by employers will have profoundly negative consequences for Ontarians and our health-care system. It’s shameful and Ontarians should be contacting their MPP to voice their concerns.”
ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as more than 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.