Tentative contract agreement to be voted on by health unit nurses, nurse practitioners

SUDBURY—The negotiating team for registered nurse and nurse practitioners with the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) are recommending members vote in favour of a contract agreement that was reached after conciliation talks with the Sudbury District Health Unit (SDHU) on April 21.

“The good news is that a contract agreement has been agreed on that will go for ratification on April 27,” stated ONA first vice-president Vicki McKenna on Monday. “The negotiating team is recommending that members vote in favour of the agreement, and are very pleased to take it to its members.”

“Going into conciliation the negotiating team knew it would be a tough process, but after conciliation talks they felt that things are where they need to be and the contract agreement should be taken forward to members,” said Ms. McKenna. “Things are looking good at this point, and they (members) have a tentative contract agreement to vote on.”

As reported in the April 21 edition of the Recorder, following three days of failed negotiations, registered nurse and nurse practitioners with the ONA headed into conciliation talks with the Sudbury District Health Unit on April 21. The negotiations involve 103 registered nurses and nurse practitioners that provide services to the 195,000 residents in Greater Sudbury as well as the districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin.

Ms. McKenna said previously 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 said the RNs and NPs provide a wide variety of services. Their 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, breast feeding clinics, and visits to new parents so that the youngest members of the community receive a healthy start to life.

ONA is the union representing 64,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as almost 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

Ms. McKenna said at this point contract details cannot be released until the ONA members vote on April 27.