Algoma Public Health Nurses May be Forced out on Strike
April 9, 2018
SAULT STE. MARIE – Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) Public Health Nurses and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) working for the Algoma Public Health Unit are beginning to prepare as they may be forced to strike.
“After four days of negotiations and two days of conciliation, our Public Health Nurses and Nurse Practitioners have requested that a no-board be issued with a legal strike/lock-out date of April 26,” said ONA President Vicki McKenna. RN. “Our members have been without a contract since April 1, 2017, and are the second-lowest paid public health nurses in the province.”
McKenna said that ONA has agreed to one more day of mediation, scheduled for April 25.
“As nurses, we never want to be forced to withdraw services from our community,” said McKenna. “Algoma Public Health Nurses have been optimistic that a negotiated settlement could be reached, but at this point, our members are feeling disrespected, devalued, and believe their employer lacks an understanding of the value of the range of services they provide to promote the health of the communities they protect.”
The Public Health Nurses and Nurse Practitioners are planning information pickets over the coming days to ensure the community understands the issues.
“Algoma Public Health Nurses and Nurse Practitioners have carried on providing care and services – to promote the health of our communities, prevent illness and injury, and protect residents from communicable and infectious disease outbreaks – to more than 114,000 residents during a years-long period of turmoil,” she said. “They have provided those services to residents – everyone from the smallest babies, to children and teenagers to seniors through leadership chaos, despite the theft of public dollars and public scandals involving the health unit. Now, we’re asking the public to support our nurses.”
ONA is the union representing 65,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.