Ontario Nurses Write Precautionary Principle Into Labor Contract
[Rachel's Introduction: The Ontario Nurses' Associated has negotiated a labor contract that includes the precautionary principle. We have not seen the proposed language, and the contract has not yet been approved by union members, but this seems an important advance for labor and for the precautionary principle.]
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TORONTO -- The Ontario Nurses' Association's (ONA) Hospital Central Negotiating Team is unanimously recommending acceptance of a tentative settlement negotiated for Ontario's 50,000 hospital registered nurses and allied health professionals. The tentative settlement includes salary increases for hospital nurses of 9.55 per cent over its three- year term. In addition, nurses will receive a lump sum payment which varies with length of service and is equivalent to an additional 3.70 per cent for the majority of ONA members. The tentative settlement also includes:

** Vacation, benefit and premium pay improvements;

** Contract language relating to the adoption of the precautionary principle to improve workplace safety (as recommended by the late Justice Archie Campbell's final report on SARS);

** Commitments to address violence in the workplace, including disruptive physician behavior;

** Dental benefits for early retirees (aged 60 to 65).

ONA leaders are learning of details in the tentative settlement today.

If ratified, the new collective agreement covers a three-year period, from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2011. "This contract, including the lump sum payments, offers RNs some recognition for the hard work they do each and every day in providing quality care to our patients," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. If ratified by members, a full- time registered nurse working in an ONA hospital facility will earn between $29.36 (new RNs) and $42.44 (RNs with 25 years' experience) an hour by April 1, 2010. Local ratification meetings will be held for hospital-sector nurses between February 25 and March 11. Results will be announced by March 20.

ONA is the union representing 53,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals working in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community and industry.

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, Cellular: (416) 986-8240; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369

Copyright 2005 CNW Group Ltd.

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