Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit Nurses Head to Conciliation: RNs trying to avoid a strike
May 11, 2017
CHATHAM-KENT — The 42 nurses working at Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit are entering into conciliation with their employer on May 12, trying to avoid a strike.
The Ontario Nurses’ Association’s (ONA) member Public Health Nurses are seeking a new contract. Their last contract expired in December, 2016.
“Public health nurses are the foundation of our health care,” says ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN. “They work to ensure the health and well-being of the more than 103,000 residents of Chatham-Kent, providing chronic disease and injury prevention services in schools, workplaces and the community. Our nurses run smoking cessation programs and vaccination clinics, monitor for, investigate and control infectious disease outbreaks, run sexual health clinics and provide health education for our young people.”
The nurses also provide blood-borne infection testing and monitoring for such diseases as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and B, develop harm reduction strategies including needle exchange programs that include naloxone training, dispensing and counseling.
“In addition, these highly educated and skilled nurses provide pregnancy counseling, prenatal support, and support for high-risk families,” says McKenna. “They run breastfeeding clinics, partner with multiple community agencies and provide visits to new parents so the youngest members of our community get a healthy start to life.”
McKenna says that it is “imperative that this employer step up so we can achieve a fair contract comparable to that of their peers in surrounding health units.”
ONA is the union representing 64,000 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.