St. Elizabeth Home Care Thunder Bay Nurses Head to Conciliation
February 13, 2018
RNs & RPNs say decent wages will help employer recruitment efforts
THUNDER BAY – Registered Nurses (RNs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) working for St. Elizabeth Home Care Thunder Bay will head to conciliation with their employer on Valentine’s Day, seeking a new contract.
The six full-time and one part-time RNs, four full-time and one part-time RPNs – members of the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) – have been without a contract for almost two full years.
“Our dedicated ONA members provide expert, exceptional and compassionate care to an array of patients with both complex health issues and those with chronic conditions across this community,” notes ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “Our nurses care for those with cancer, work alongside physicians and nurse practitioners in palliative care, provide wound and post-operative care for their patients, care for seniors and diabetics, and provide home dialysis care and support for renal patients. ONA has been trying to negotiate a new contract with this employer since October 2017.
“Nurses are the heart of health-care,” says McKenna. “Our nurses ensure their patients receive the care they need to reach their optimal level of wellness, or face death with dignity, in their own homes. Despite this, this employer has failed to negotiate a fair and respectful contract.”
McKenna notes that the employer has acknowledged that it has chronic problems attracting and retaining nurses due to its inferior wages and lack of a wage grid. “The care our nurses provide is too important to suffer from a nurse recruitment and retention crisis,” she says. “The solution is obvious – and we urge this employer to come to conciliation prepared with a decent offer.”
The ONA negotiating team believes St. Elizabeth must institute a pay grid such as other employers offer. This, the union believes, would help in attracting new nurses and retaining them. “Patients need continuity of care,” says McKenna. “We think this would go a long way towards ensuring a sustainable complement of home care nurses to provide the care our patients need and deserve.”
ONA is the union representing 65,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.