Thanks for your support! Niagara Public Health Nurses
August 21, 2017
September 18: The Region of Niagara Public Health Nurses have ratified a two-year contract providing 1.4 per cent in each of two years and benefit improvements. Thanks to our members for supporting our public health nurses. We got loud!
The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is launching an online campaign (www.ONA.org/NiagaraPH), asking residents of the Region of Niagara to send a message to council to respect and value the work of the Region's 161 Registered Nurses (RNs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) who work for the Regional Municipality of Niagara Public Health Unit.
They are asking the public to send a message urging council to encourage the employer to provide an offer that reflects the vital health services that public health nurses provide.
"Our RNs and NPs are very disappointed that the Region has tabled a final offer lower than what was offered to its male-dominated police force and is less than what was offered to hospital, nursing home and Community Care Access Centre nurses," says ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN. "We believe that council should do the right thing and request that the employer return to the table and negotiate a respectful contract for our predominantly female public health nurses, showing them the same regard they demonstrate for police in the region."
"Our highly educated, skilled and dedicated members provide valued programs and services vital to Niagara Region residents, including promoting health and resilience in students, preventing chronic disease and injury, collaborating with community partners – including workplaces and daycare centres – to promote health and disease prevention," says McKenna. "Our nurses provide vaccination clinics, monitor for, investigate and control infectious disease outbreaks, provide sexual health clinics, monitor and test for blood-borne infectious disease such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and B, and promote harm-reduction strategies and outreach services such as needle exchange programs. They also provide prenatal care and support for high-risk families, breastfeeding clinics, and visits to new parents so that the youngest members of the community receive a healthy start to life.
"Our public health nurses also provide mental health services to Niagara residents, which include support and treatment." McKenna notes that following three days of bargaining, the employer tabled its final offer at conciliation.
"We are extremely disappointed in this negotiations process," said McKenna. "The lack of respect shown to our nurses is truly puzzling. We cannot help but wonder if the majority of public health nurses were men, whether the employer would have been more respectful. After the Region presented its final offer, ONA requested that the employer speak to our bargaining team and they declined. Clearly, they do not hold the profession in high regard, despite the fact that the Region's 448,000 residents are healthier due to the efforts of these highly dedicated nurses."
ONA is the union representing 64,000 registered nurses and health-care 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.
For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Ken Marciniec, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-964-1979 ext.2306; 416-803-6066; Melanie Levenson, email@example.com, 416-964-1979 ext.2369
Letters of Support
A letter to the editor — as published by the Niagara Falls Review, St. Catharines Standard, and Welland Tribune — from Kate Bezanson, PhD, Chair and Associate Professor, Sociology, Brock University.