March 28, 2019 (WINDSOR-ESSEX COUNTY, ON) – The President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) is calling on public health authorities to monitor the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s actions and ensure the health of the community is not at risk. New talks between the Ontario Nurses’ Association, representing more than 80 striking public health nurses, and the Windsor-Essex Health Unit employer failed yesterday. The employer walked away from talks with the union after less than an hour, even as reports of a suspected measles case sparked fear of an outbreak.
“It is concerning that the actions of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit employer are not only denying dedicated public health nurses a fair contract, they may be putting the health of their community at risk by letting this strike drag on,” said Linda Silas, CFNU President. “It’s time for this employer to get back to the table prepared to negotiate.”
While the suspected case of measles in Chatham-Kent tested negative Wednesday afternoon, the situation underlines how vital the work of these public health nurses is.
The nurses have been on the picket line since March 8 in their quest for an equitable collective agreement. The employer has refused to negotiate a respectful wage increase for the highly educated and skilled nurses that is equitable with increases negotiated by male-dominated professionals in the municipality.
“As this strike enters its fourth week, Canada’s nurses are calling on the Public Health Agency of Canada and Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health to monitor the situation and ensure the employer’s actions do not risk the very public they are meant to protect,” said Silas.
The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing nearly 200,000 nurses and student nurses, and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.
For more information, please contact:
Lauren Snowball, CFNU Communications Officer, 613-868-5702, firstname.lastname@example.org