Thunder Bay Public Health Nurses on the Picket Line as Mediation Fails
October 16, 2018
THUNDER BAY – Public Health Nurses working for Thunder Bay District Health Unit will be on the picket lines at 7:30 a.m. today.
“Unfortunately, a long day of mediation failed to result in a respectful, fair contract offer and our dedicated Public Health Nurses have been forced to take strike action,” said Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Vicki McKenna, RN.
The 58 ONA members had three days of negotiations, two days of conciliation and one day of mediation with this employer. They voted to reject the employer’s final offer last night. These nurses are the lowest-paid in the province and have been working without a contract for close to two years.
“Our Public Health Nurses are highly educated and skilled, and provide health promotion programs, prevent illness and injury and protect residents from communicable and infectious disease outbreaks. Their dedication and skills have earned the respect of the community. It is disappointing that they have been put in the position by their employer and been forced to withdraw services.”
The strike will impact the communities the Public Health Nurses service, including First Nations populations and school children, as immunization programs will be affected. The nurses are also working on the current outbreak of tuberculosis in the community.
“ONA is optimistic that this employer will agree to return to the table and that this strike is brief,” said McKenna. “Our Public Health Nurses are passionate about the services they provide and hope to get back to doing what they love to do soon.”
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.