Public Health Nurses Reject Employer’s Latest ‘Final’ Offer
April 11, 2019
Nurses Return to Picket Line Steadfast in Commitment to Achieve Equitable Agreement
WINDSOR, Ont., April 11, 2019 – Nurses from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit resoundingly rejected their employer’s most recent ‘final’ offer Wednesday and have resumed picketing today.
“Our employer did not offer any meaningful improvements,” said Barb Deter, RN, Bargaining Unit President for the striking nurses. “To be clear, their disrespectful offer wouldn’t even cover the increase in the cost of living nurses will experience this year. We took their latest final offer to the membership and it was roundly rejected. This is a significant vote of confidence in our bargaining team.”
“The Health Unit’s management has barely moved from their position that my colleagues and I, all women, are worth only half as much of an increase in pay as male dominated groups of municipal workers in 2019,” said Deter. “We’re professionals, required to have university degrees that come from hard work and with significant debt, and we protect the health and safety of the public every day, yet we earn less than our male counterparts. We will continue to fight for a collective agreement that reflects our true value to our communities, including to some of the most vulnerable people who rely on us to access health care.”
“ONA has been very clear right from the beginning that we are prepared to negotiate an agreement that values and respects these nurses and their contribution to their communities,” said ONA Provincial President Vicki McKenna, RN. “If this employer believes that dragging this strike out will weaken these nurses’ position, they are wrong. Yesterday’s vote demonstrates that they have grown stronger.”
These 86 nurse practitioners, public health nurses, and registered practical nurses were forced on strike March 8, International Women’s Day. They provide a wide range of services for close to 500,000 residents of the City of Windsor and Essex County, including a large population of refugees and migrant workers. Their work includes running health promotion programs, preventing illness and injury, and protecting residents from communicable and infectious disease outbreaks.
ONA is the union representing more than 65,000 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.