Today's date: Friday October 19, 2018
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Health unit, nurses enter conciliation to try to reach collective agreement

by Chris Daponte

ABOYNE - Public health nurses and the local health unit will enter conciliation discussions this week to try to reach a collective agreement and avert a possible strike.

Registered practical nurses and registerd nurses employed Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) have been without a contract since May 1.

The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), which represents the 72 nurses, has had three days of negotiations with public health and the two sides will begin conciliation on Oct. 27.

"As nurses, we expect the employer to come prepared to offer a fair contract to our skilled and knowledgeable [nurses] so they can continue to deliver excellent services to their community," stated ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud in a press release.

"ONA always prefers to reach a negotiated settlement, and we encourage this employer to not force our nurses to strike."

WDGPH spokesman Chuck Ferguson would not comment on the negotiations or specific issues involved therein.

"Public health is working towards a positive outcome," he told the Advertiser on Oct. 26.

Ferguson explained the conciliation process involves both sides sitting down with a conciliator assigned to them by the province's labour board.

Should the conciliation procees prove unsuccessful, the minister will likely issue a "no board" report, which is a legal requirement for a strike or lockout. However, if both sides agree, the matter can still proceed to mediation with a ministry-appointed mediator.

Haslam-Stroud stated public health nurses provide a wide range of services to about 285,000 residents in Guelph and Wellington and Dufferin counties, including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C testing; treatment for sexually transmitted diseases; immunization clinics; and parental counselling.

October 26, 2017


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