Re­gion of Water­loo and its nurses rat­ify new con­tract, avoid­ing strike

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - LIZ BE­VAN

“We are very pleased that a deal has been reached be­tween the re­gion and ONA, so it is busi­ness as usual,” DR. LIANA NOLAN

AVOID­ING STRIKE AC­TION

FOR Pub­lic Health nurses in the re­gion, the On­tario Nurses’ As­so­ci­a­tion and the Re­gion of Water­loo have voted to rat­ify a ten­ta­tive agree­ment reached last week.

The 131 nurses voted in favour of the deal, which runs through June 30, 2019. The con­tract in­cludes ad­just­ments to health ben­e­fits and pre­mi­ums and a mod­er­ate in­crease in wages of 1.25 per cent retroac­tive to July 2016, a 1.25 per cent in­crease in July 2017, and a two per cent in­crease in Jan. 2018.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions started last sum­mer, in June, and were on­go­ing un­til just last week when a ten­ta­tive agree­ment was reached.

Dr. Liana Nolan, med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health and com­mis­sioner of pub­lic health, said re­gional of­fi­cials are just happy a deal has been reached, avoid­ing a pub­lic health nurse strike.

“We are very pleased that a deal has been reached be­tween the re­gion and ONA, so it is busi­ness as usual,” she said. “I can say that we are all very happy that a vol­un­tary agree­ment has been reached. From our point of view, we have al­ways said that we value the work of the pub­lic health nurses and a vol­un­tary agree­ment was al­ways the hope and the in­tent. I think it has worked out well.”

Talks didn’t al­ways go smoothly, how­ever.

In an ONA press re­lease from a month ago, Vicki McKenna, first vice-pres­i­dent of the as­so­ci­a­tion, ex­pressed her dis­plea­sure with the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“Bar­gain­ing has been very dif­fer­ent this round ver­sus our past ex­pe­ri­ences with this em­ployer. Af­ter seven days at the bar­gain­ing ta­ble, th­ese highly skilled pro­fes­sion­als are in­sulted, dis­re­spected, dis­il­lu­sioned, and de­val­ued by this em­ployer,” she said. “Our ded­i­cated nurses work to en­sure that the 575,000 res­i­dents of the Re­gion of Water­loo re­main healthy and well, yet their em­ployer has been ab­so­lutely dis­re­spect­ful. The em­ployer flatly re­fused to lis­ten to ONA mem­bers’ counter-pro­posal, end­ing talks.

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