VIDEO: Nurses Union Presents Petition to County Warden

It appears support is growing for the 86 striking nurses at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

On Friday morning,  members from the Ontario Nurses Association along with the President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union went to Tecumseh town hall to present a petition with 1,000 signatures to Gary McNamara.

McNamara is the Warden of Essex County and is also the chair of the local health unit board.

According to the union, the petition calls on the health unit to change its mandate and present a fair deal to the striking nurses.

Karen Bertrand is the Vice President of ONA's Region five. She tells AM800 News the nurses want a fair collective agreement.

"We're asking Mr. McNamara as the warden of Essex County and also the chair of the board of health to give the public health unit CEO a new mandate so they can enter into a fair collective agreement that respects these nurses," says Bertrand.    

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A petition with 1000 signatures is presented to Essex County Warden Gary McNamara, April 12, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Rob Hindi)

Linda Silas, the President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union, says the local nurses have the support from nurses across the country.

"We have letters of support but I'm also delivering $52,000 that we collected just yesterday when I was in Saskatchewan from nurses in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec," says Silas.  "Next week I'm going to the Maritimes and Manitoba and doing the same thing.  We have single mothers here, we have small families."      

McNamara did not meet with the representatives.  They were told he will be in meetings all day.

The petition was given to an employee with the mayor's office.

The nurses have been on strike for five weeks, and held a rally over the noon hour Friday across from the street from the health unit office in Windsor. 

They have rejected three deals that have been presented to them, the latest being this week.

According to Bertrand, the spirits of the striking nurses remain high.

"Their morale, they're stronger today then they've ever been," says Bertrand.  "They're very very committed to this, they feel very disrespected and they're really hoping they'll see a new mandate and another final offer come forward.   

Wages remain a key issue in the despite. ONA says it wants the same increases with those in male-dominated jobs.