$data.PageTitle

More than 80 public health nurses in Windsor-Essex will be back on the job on Friday.

The board of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit ratified a new three-year agreement Thursday morning after the nurses approved the contract on Wednesday.

The agreement includes a wage increase of one per cent (retroactive to 2018), two per cent this year and one per cent next year, as well as improved benefits.

Theresa Marentette, the CEO and chief nursing officer with the health unit, says they are delighted to have an agreement.

“We are pleased to announce that this morning, the Board of Health unanimously voted to ratify the collective agreement with our public health nurses,” says Marentette. “We look forward to the return of our public health nurses tomorrow, Friday, May 10, as we work to resume all regular programs and services.”

The nurse practitioners, public health nurses and registered practical nurses went on strike March 8 to back demand demands for more money.

Marentette thanked Windsor-Essex residents for their patience throughout the service disruptions.

“Throughout the entire bargaining process, the health and wellbeing of our community has been our top priority,” says Marentette.

A number of programs were cancelled due to the strike including the healthy families home visiting program for new homes, the healthy schools program, the school immunization clinics for Grade 7 students and the school suspension program for incomplete immunizations

Marentette tells CTV Windsor the immunization clinics will be done during the summer.

She admits it’s an inconvenience for parents since they will now have to go to the health unit to have them done.

The Ontario Nurses Association says it is happy the nurses are going back to work.

“Our members want to thank the community for their enormous patience and support during the past two months,” says Vicki McKenna, ONA president. “Members of the public came out and joined our nurses on the picket lines, donated funds to help keep our nurses afloat, brought hot drinks and food, supported the nurses’ community fundraising efforts, and most importantly, expressed their support for the work our members do.”

The new agreement expires in 2021.