Ontario Nurses’ Association says Arbitration Decision a Lost Opportunity to Improve Staffing Levels in Nursing Homes
October 25, 2021
Registered Nurses, Health-Care Professionals will see minimal wage increases that fall far short of inflation
TORONTO, ON., October 25, 2021 – Noting that front-line registered nurses (RNs) and health-care professionals providing care in both for-profit and charitable nursing homes have experienced horrible conditions during the pandemic, the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) says the just-released arbitration decision of minimal wage increases is a missed opportunity to improve recruitment and retention of nurses and ensure safe staffing levels for resident care.
“Our dedicated nursing home RNs and health-care professionals have been left absolutely devastated – physically and emotionally – by what the pandemic and this government have wrought,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “In many cases, staff were left unprotected from COVID-19, with little or no PPE. These employers ignored their concerns and repeated warnings regarding the safety of residents. Our members have been sickened on the job, saw residents they care deeply about sickened and die, and in one case, paid the ultimate price – Brian Beattie, RN died of COVID-19 after becoming infected with COVID-19 while at work.”
McKenna says that many employers seem oblivious to the levels of devastation among their staff. For-profit nursing homes are not covered by Bill 124, as this government seems more concerned about for-profit owners than the charitable homes. Yet these for-profit operators sought concessions during bargaining, showing more concern for profit than for safe, proper staffing levels.
Arbitration decisions have been released for both Participating Nursing Homes and Charitable Nursing Homes. RNs and health-care professionals working in for-profit nursing homes will see a three-year deal that provides 1.75 per cent increase each year, even as inflation runs at 4.4 per cent. “For those working in charitable homes, the news is even more disrespectful,” says McKenna, “a one-per-cent increase in each of three years as per Bill 124. ONA has lodged a Charter challenge against this bill, noting that it both targets female-dominated professions and prevents the right to free collective bargaining.”
ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
Media Relations Officer