Windsor-Essex County public health nurses heading to mediation: ONA members trying to avoid being forced on strike
February 19, 2019
WINDSOR-ESSEX COUNTY, February 19, 2019 – Following the breakdown of negotiations, more than 80 Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) members at the Windsor-Essex County Public Health Unit are heading to mediation, hoping to avoid being forced to strike.
The Nurse Practitioners, Public Health Nurses and Registered Practical Nurses provide a wide range of services for close to 500,000 residents of Windsor-Essex County, including a large population of refugees.
“Our highly educated members work to improve and maintain the health of their communities by providing services such as chronic disease and injury prevention, infectious disease monitoring and prevention, maternal health and healthy families programs, needs assessments for their communities, healthy schools programs, substance use and mental health programs,” notes ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN.
McKenna also notes that the nurses are responsible for school vaccination programs, and monitor for, investigate and control infectious disease outbreaks.
“With surrounding communities experiencing outbreaks of rubella, measles and sexually transmitted infections, their work is vital to the health of the residents of Windsor-Essex County,” she said.
The nurses have been working without a contract since March 31, 2018. Conciliation talks took place February 1, and a mediation date has been scheduled for February 28.
“Our dedicated nurses do not want to be forced out on strike and leave their community at risk in case of an outbreak of infectious disease,” said McKenna. “Our members are dedicated to keeping the community healthy, working in partnership with other agencies and health-care providers. We hope that an additional mediation date will be successful, and the employer will come to the table supporting our outstanding nurses who provide such excellent services to the people of Windsor-Essex.”
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.