Strike looming at Sudbury District Health Unit

SUDBURY—Following three days of failed negotiations, registered nurses and nurse practitioners with the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) are heading into conciliation talks with the Sudbury and District Health Unit (SDHU) on April 21.

“Our 103 registered nurses and nurse practitioners are very disappointed that a negotiated settlement has not been reached,” said Vicki McKenna RN, ONA first vice-president. “We are committed to reaching an agreement with this employer without being forced to withdraw our services. A strike would disrupt the vital services that our members provide to the 195,000 residents in Greater Sudbury as well as the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin.”

Ms. McKenna notes that the (SDHU) collective agreement must provide competitive wage and benefit provisions that ensure there is an edge to recruit and retain valuable nurses for the community. She says the highly educated and skilled RNs and RPNs provide a wide variety of services.

The nurses’ work includes promoting health and resilience in students, preventing chronic disease and injury, collaborating with community partners, including workplaces and daycare centres-to promote health and disease prevention. Nurses provide vaccination clinics, monitor for, investigate and control infectious disease outbreaks, provide sexual health clinics, monitor and test for blood-borne infectious disease such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and B, and promote harm-reduction strategies, such as needle exchange programs. They also provide prenatal care and support for high-risk families, breastfeeding clinics and visits to new parents so that the youngest members of the community receive a healthy start to life.

“While no nurse ever wants to be forced to strike, our members have voted overwhelmingly to support their bargaining team and in favour of strike action should they not be able to reach a fair agreement that is equitable to that of their counterparts in the North East Region of Ontario,” said Ms. McKenna.