By Ontario Nurses’ Association
Today, the elected bargaining team of the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) begins mediation with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) in a last-ditch effort to reach a respectful, negotiated collective agreement for Ontario’s 60,000 hospital Registered Nurses and health-care professionals.
“We expect no less than for the OHA to make an all-out effort to meet the demands of the very people who have gone above and beyond the call of their profession to provide the best-quality care they can for the people of Ontario,” says ONA Interim Provincial President Bernie Robinson, RN. “Our members have sacrificed so much to keep the system afloat, despite the policies and legislation passed by the Ford government that put their health at risk, suppressed their wages, breached their constitutional rights and overrode their collective agreements. It is well past time for the OHA, representing their employers, to recognize and respect our extraordinary RNs and health-care professionals.
“ONA has been in negotiations with the OHA for a number of days,” says Robinson. “ONA continues to be optimistic that mediation will succeed. ONA has not reached a negotiated settlement with the OHA since 2011. Should it fail, the issue will go to an arbitrator in early May. “We are speaking out about the years of disrespect with which our members have been treated by this government and many of their employers. We are seeking better staffing, better wages and better care – knowing that better working conditions will enable our members to provide the quality of care our patients need and deserve.”
She adds that the outcome of this round of negotiations is pivotal to the future of our health-care system and beginning to solve the severe nursing shortage in this province. “It’s about priorities,” she says. “The outcome of mediation will show Ontarians – and ONA members – where those priorities really lay.”
ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 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, industry and clinics.