Upcoming Actions to Support Ontario Nurses as Negotiations Begin

On February 23, members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) and allies will join "all-out picket actions" in communities across the province. The pickets will be held outside hospitals and Conservative MPPs' offices to "show our unified voice and commitment to achieving a fair deal for Ontario's nurses." ONA says.

The pickets are in advance of the All-Out Shutdown Protest called by ONA for Thursday, March 2, at 12 pm at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto.

Ontario nurses represented by the ONA began their negotiations with the province on January 30. "Ontario cannot afford anything less than a better deal for nurses and their patients," said ONA Interim Provincial President Bernie Robinson. "ONA is putting the Ontario Hospital Association on notice that the days of nurses and health care professionals swallowing unconstitutional wage caps and untenable working conditions are over. Retaining our desperately needed hospital nurses and addressing the critical staffing shortages hurting patient care requires a better deal for nurses and our patients."

ONA's top-two issues are staffing shortages and wages. Nurses are demanding better wages that reflect the rising cost of living and restore the wages they have been unjustly deprived of for the past three years by Premier Ford's unconstitutional Bill 124. Under this recently overturned anti-worker legislation, the wages and benefits of public sector workers have been limited to increases of one per cent per year, leading to a severe nursing shortage and exacerbating already untenable workloads and patient wait times. Other issues include changes to support better staffing levels and enable nurses to provide timely and high-quality care for Ontarians.

Robinson notes that addressing inadequate wages will help address staffing shortages. "By increasing wages, it is more likely that we can retain nurses considering leaving their jobs, and that many nurses who have left the system these past few years may be recruited back into our hospitals. This would ease the nursing shortage and improve patient care."

"We urge the public to show support for nurses and health-care professionals in our fight for a better deal," says Robinson. "Ontario's hospital nurses and health-care professionals are united in their resolve to achieve a better deal that will ensure Ontarians get the care they need and deserve." Robinson notes the public can visit Value Nurses to show their support.

To find a picket near you, click here

ONA represents more than 68,000 registered nurses and health care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, who provide care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

ONA members hold a social media day of action on February 2, 2023, in support of their bargaining demands.

(With files and photos from ONA.)

This article was published in
Volume 53 Number 2 - February 2023

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