Hospital Staff Calling For Respect In Bargaining

Hospital staff in Windsor and Leamington are joining others across Ontario in solidarity Wednesday.

More than 75,000 nurses, personal support workers, porters, dietary and administrative and trades staff will be wearing a sticker that says 'Together for Respect'.

Michael Hurley is President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions of CUPE and says it's a call for a negotiated settlement between the hospitals and employees similar to what's been given to other bargaining units.

Hurley says workers feel they're being treated unfairly.

"The hospitals entered into an agreement with their lab techs and hasn't been willing to extend that same pattern to the rest of their unionized employees. Part of what you're seeing here is an expression of a feeling by hospital staff that there's a difference in the way people are being treated and valued."

He says these are some of the hardest working hospital staff and they're being left in the dark.

"According to the stats, you have the fewest number of staff working with the fewest beds and the greatest number of patients in Ontario of any of the provinces. So the most productive hospital workers in the country and we can't secure a negotiated agreement with the hospitals and we're frustrated about that."

Hurley says they're looking for change when it comes to workplace violence as well.

"Trying to get a handle on some of the very significant violence that happens to staff at hospitals. Physical, sexual and verbal aggression. So this is a call for a return to a more respectful approach by the hospitals when they're dealing with their own employees."

Wednesday's action is the first of several events planned for the coming weeks.

On April 18, rallies will be held at hospitals across the province.

Talks between the union and the hospitals are scheduled for April 21 and 22.

— with files from AM800's Patty Handysides