Unifor continues to stand with workers across the country and around the globe in recognizing and celebrating the outstanding contributions of nurses during National Nursing Week. Nurses across the nation need our support and solidarity like never before.
“As a union we need provincial governments to immediately correct this and other wrongdoings of the past and invest in health care,” said Assistant to the National President Katha Fortier, who is also a nurse and is responsible for overseeing health care at Unifor.
Unifor nursing members are an integral part of high-functioning teams that provide patient care in hospitals, long-term care homes and in communities. As frontline workers they receive specialized training and education and over the course of the pandemic have continued to demonstrate the vital role they play in our health care system. Despite this, in Ontario Bill 124 continues to cap most nurses’ compensation to only one percent annually, which is well below the rate of inflation.
In response to the pandemic, some provincial governments are looking to privatization to address shortcomings in the health care system. Unifor has been at the forefront of the fightback against the privatization of health care.
“As a union, our commitment is to increase staff-to-patient ratios, improve working and living conditions and ensure that Unifor nurses are respected, protected and paid fairly,” said Andy Savela, Unifor Health Care Director. “Just days after a lobby meeting with Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, a special nurse bonus was announced. We understand that, while welcome, we need permanent gains to retain and attract nurses.
Last fall the union formed a committee consisting of RPNs across Ontario to discuss and plan actions to repeal Bill 124 and demand a standardized wage for RPN’s across the province. Several nurses chose to share their stories about what their role is in the workplace, how they contribute to good outcomes for patients and how the pandemic has taken a toll on their mental health and their quality of life. The video highlights the role RPN’s play in our health care system.
Unifor’s court challenge against Bill 124 is expected to be heard in the fall, but the quickest way to ensuring this Bill is revoked is to vote out the Ford Government in June.
Unifor represents more than 30,000 health care workers, including 5,000 Nurses.