Region of Waterloo Public Health Nurses to Hold Strike Vote Prior to Conciliation: ONA members have been without a contract since June 30

January 9, 2017

WATERLOO – Region of Waterloo Public Health Unit nurses will hold a pre-conciliation strike vote tomorrow as they seek to negotiate a new contract.

The 131 Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) members – 106 Public Health Nurses, 14 Registered Nurses, seven Registered Practical Nurses, two Nurse Practitioners and two Nurse Specialist Registered Nurses – are seeking a new contract with their employer and have been working without a contract since June 30, 2016.

“Our dedicated nurses work to ensure that the 575,000 residents of the Region of Waterloo remain healthy and well,” said ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna. “Their invaluable services include working to prevent chronic disease by promoting healthy living strategies (physical activity, healthy eating, preventing substance abuse, injury and cancer prevention and promoting good mental health), delivering programs in our schools, workplaces and in the community.

“The nurses also monitor, investigate and work to control infectious disease outbreaks – such as influenza, meningitis, measles, tuberculosis and SARS, provide counselling in sexual health at youth clinics, and provide blood-borne infection testing and monitoring for such diseases as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and B. They run smoking cessation programs and vaccination programs, needle exchange programs that include naloxone training, dispensing and counselling, and provide pregnancy counselling and support, prenatal support, support for high-risk families, run breastfeeding clinics and partner with community agencies,” she said.

In addition, McKenna notes that public health nurses provide support to refugees and new immigrants, and test for and follow up on reportable infectious disease from locations in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, and in the surrounding rural areas. They also provide visits to new parents so our youngest citizens get a healthy start to life. In short, the work our nurses do is vital to this community.”

“Our communities are healthier due to the skills and dedication of our nurses,” said McKenna. “It’s incumbent upon their employer to ensure that we can continue to provide the services and care that keep the citizens of Waterloo Region healthy in both mind and spirit.”

ONA is the union representing 62,000 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.

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For more information: Ontario Nurses’ Association
Sheree Bond (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430; cell: (416) 986-8240;
Melanie Levenson (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369; cell: (416) 801-8958;
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