Media Statement: Public Health Unit’s Offer to Nurses Neither Fair nor Reasonable, says Ontario Nurses’ Association
August 29, 2023
BELLEVILLE, ON., August 29, 2023 – The 50 registered nurses, public health nurses and registered practical nurses at Hastings & Prince Edward County Public Health say their employer’s single monetary offer is neither fair nor reasonable in light of current economic conditions and the suppressed wages they have been working under for years. The nurses are calling again for the employer to agree to arbitration to settle the matter and ensure that county residents again have access to public health services.
The union representing these nurses – the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) – says the health unit is failing the residents of the counties, having triggered a countdown to a strike and refusing the extraordinary offer made by the nurses to go to arbitration to avoid the strike.
“If Hastings & Prince Edward County believe they have made a fair offer, why would they refuse to go to arbitration and let an outside party confirm their position?” asked ONA President Erin Ariss, RN. “If this employer is serious about getting back to the table, they should agree immediately to go to arbitration and ensure that the residents of these counties again have the invaluable care and services our nurses provide.”
ONA continues to believe that coming to the bargaining table with a single offer and refusing to move is not negotiating. The employer’s offer of 2 per cent per year is neither fair nor reasonable. In real financial terms, this amounts to a wage cut, even amidst a historic nursing shortage.
Ariss notes that, “This community should expect their health unit to budget appropriately to ensure the provision of front-line services. There is something very wrong here if they’re admitting they did not budget properly for front-line care and fair wages for the highly educated and skilled nurses who provide it.”