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Health care workers expected back to work Tuesday

Striking home care workers are expected to return to work Tuesday as the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) and Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) have agreed to participate in interest arbitration to settle wage issues. Both sides had walked away from the table late Thursday following a full day meeting.

A statement released Sunday by the CCNA said talks resumed Saturday, Feb. 14th with a mediator from the Ministry of Labour, to resolve the strike. The ONA-represented employees in nine CCACs – including the one serving the County – are expected to return to their workplaces on Tuesday, Feb. 17th.

The arbitration, says the ONA in a statement Sunday, refelects CCAC employers “unwilling to negotiate a fair deal”.

“During this strike, there has been a colossal waste of health care dollars as the employer spent taxpayers’ money foolishly on catered meals for management, overtime, strike-breaking security firms and high-priced lawyers, and who knows what else – with complete disregard for the public purse,” said Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stoud, RN. “We always believed that our offer of several months ago to go to interest arbitration was fair and reasonable and best for our patients that we serve. Unfortunately, it took our members’ resolve when forced out on to the picket lines to bring the government and employers to their senses.”

Earlier in the week, Haslam-Stroud said in a statement that “Office assistants have been forced to approve patient IVs and medications – and use Google to learn about the medications  … even as CCAC continues to insist that service has not been affected.”

“We are very pleased that we will be able to resume our full range of care to patients,” says Megan Allen-Lamb, provincial CCAC spokesperson. “We thank our patients, and health care partners in the home, community, long-term care and hospital sectors for their patience and support through this time.  We look forward to having our employees return to CCACs to resume their important work in providing care to patients.”

This agreement ends 16 days of picketing by 3,000 nurses in nine of Ontario’s 14 CCACs. They serve more than 650,000 people who receive care through the CCAC and community agencies.

The CCAC Health Professionals were seeking a 1.4 per cent increase rather than a wage freeze in a new contract. The workers have been without a contract since March 31, 2014.

The ONA statement declares there is still time to “give the CCAC health professionals wage improvements like ONA’s 57,000 RNs and allied health professionals have already received,” Haslam-Stroud said.

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  1. Debbie Marshall says:

    please remember that the Ministry of Labour is a government run agency with its own agenda! I’d be concerned about the mediator/ arbitrator being unbiased. I’ve been with the Ministry of Corrections for 25 years and have seen many biased decisions despite blatant infractions on the part of the Ministry of Labour staff when pressured by their employers in labour disputes

  2. Michel says:

    Earlier in the week, Haslam-Stroud said in a statement that “Office assistants have been forced to approve patient IVs and medications – and use Google to learn about the medications … even as CCAC continues to insist that service has not been affected.”

    How is this acceptable. Lawsuit could result. Office assistants are stupid to agree. No one can force anyone to do what they are not qualified to do!

    Government needs to seriously look where they are sending our hard earned taxpayers money! An audit should be a prerequisite befor gaining more funding!

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