Ontario Nurses’ Association Members Mark Labour Day 2021

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Rosemary Bickerton, RN BSc.N, Site Lead, Brewer Assessment Centre for COVID-19, The Ottawa Hospital. Photo Credit: Jacob Fergus (CNW Group/The Canadian Nurses Foundation)

Labour Day is a chance to recognize and appreciate hard-won workplace rights for all workers. For Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) front-line registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and health-care professionals, Labour Day 2021 is a reminder of Ford government legislation that has targeted these female-dominated professionals.

“To say that COVID-19 has been stressful for those on the front lines is a gross understatement,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “That stress has been amplified many times over by a series of anti-labour bills passed by the Ford government. The result has been burnout, a record number of resignations and retirements – and increasingly vocal ONA members.” McKenna says, “The working conditions of our members in all sectors have been challenging to say the least. On September 6, ONA’s social media posts will feature our members, speaking out about their work caring for Ontarians. ONA members will be featured in videos and photos on-line, including their thoughts on why Labour Day and union membership is important to them.”

McKenna believes that the government’s actions to suppress health-care workers’ labour rights and freedoms during the pandemic has been a catalyst for them to break their silence, to advocate for themselves and their profession, as well as raise the alarm about patient care. “ONA has attempted to work with government, as well as has sought relief through the courts and launched a Charter challenge seeking to reverse the government’s wage suppression legislation. We will not give up the fight to keep our members safe at work and to restore their right to freely bargain collectively.”

ONA has been vocal since the pandemic started, fighting for members’ safety at work by calling for N95s and proper infection prevention and control measures and recognition that COVID is transmitted through contact and airborne routes. Its members have been holding rallies, meeting with their MPPs and are increasingly unwilling to tolerate the disrespect demonstrated by employers and government. On Labour Day, ONA members will have a chance to have their say.

SOURCE Ontario Nurses’ Association

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