Thunder Bay Public Health Nurses Head to Mediation, Hoping to Reach a New Negotiated Contract, Avoid Being Forced to Strike
October 11, 2018
THUNDER BAY – Public Health Nurses working for Thunder Bay District Health Unit are heading into mediation talks on Monday, October 15, trying to avoid being locked out or being forced to strike.
Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Vicki McKenna, RN, says that, “As nurses, we never want to be forced to withdraw our essential services, including disease outbreak control, ensuring new families can care for their infants, providing health services to local schools…the community’s health and well-being is our first priority, yet Thunder Bay public health nurses remain the worst-paid in the province and have been without a contract for almost two years.”
The 58 ONA members have had three days of negotiations and two days of conciliation with this employer.
“Our members are firmly committed to the health of their community members,” noted McKenna. “They 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, and it is past time their employers respected them as well.”
McKenna notes that should the nurses be forced to strike or be locked out by their employer, their community will be impacted, 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. She also notes that this employer has started to limit public access to services prior to the strike deadline.
ONA is the union representing more than 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.