Ontario Nurses’ Association to hold strike vote

Union, employer fail to reach agreement following mediation

The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) has reached an impasse with its employer at 10 community care access centres across the province.

Following three days of mediation with a provincially appointed conciliator, the parties were unable to reach an agreement. Strike votes will be held at all 10 bargaining units in the coming weeks.

Wages remain the primary focus of the dispute. ONA is seeking wage increases in keeping with the salaries it negotiated in other major sectors, including hospitals. Additionally, the union is looking for increases in benefits as well as premiums.

No progress was made when the parties exchanged proposals on Jan. 19. In a statement the ONA said it appears clear the employer has no intention of bargaining on salaries.

“We are very concerned that they employer continues to single out and relegate this very important group of registered nurses, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers, registered practical nurses and other allied health employees to second-class citizen status,” ONA president Linda Haslam-Stroud said in the union’s statement.

“Adding insult to injury, these are the very same employers, including their CEOS, who have granted themselves salary increases that go far beyond anything they have offered to our union members.”

The employer’s latest offer would reportedly see workers facing a year of salary freezes, something the union calls unacceptable after years of wage concessions.

“ONA has made it very clear to the employer that the days of taking our ‘lumps’ are long over,” Haslam-Stroud said. “We are open to returning to the bargaining table at any time, but we are not prepared to continue to be stonewalled with the same pitiful offer that our members have rejected time and time again.”

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