Hospital nurses in North Bay and across Ontario are being urged to show their colours this week as the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) goes into negotiations for a new contract for roughly 60,000 registered nurses.
Registered nurses are wearing stickers calling on the Ontario hospital sector to provide "better staffing, better care, better wages" for members of the ONA.
The ONA said in a news release that the sticker campaign is the first in a series of collective actions by nurses to show support for the ONA bargaining team. Nurses are also being encouraged to voice support on social media.
"ONA members are building visibility and power by clearly showing their employers their vital priorities for a new deal," said the release.
The approach is seen by the ONA as a legal way for front-line members to show their support for the contract team.
The ONA said one of the concerns is that nurses were subjected to the conditions of Ontario Bill 124 which put a one per-cent per year wage cap for nurses. The bill was defeated in a court challenge, but the Ontario government is appealing the court decision.
"The legislation – Bill 124 – has worsened Ontario’s already severe nursing shortage, causing workloads that are resulting in longer patient wait times and increasing challenges for nurses and health-care professionals to ensure patients have safe, quality care. Better working conditions will help employers retain current nurses and help recruit back those who have left the system, improving patient care," said the release.