VIDEO: Negotiations Abruptly End Due to Picket Sign: Health Unit

AM800-NEWS-HEALTH-UNIT-NURSES-MARCH-2019

A picket sign was the cause of the abrupt end in talks for public health nurses on strike at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

After being on the picket line since March 8th, both sides were set to resume talks Wednesday morning, but less than an hour later, talks broke off.

Health Unit CEO Theresa Marentette says a picket sign had some misinformation about measles in the community which could be seen during rush hour.

"We needed to correct that information and our negotiations were stopped," she says. "We want to make sure the community is aware there are no cases [of the measles] at this time and we are managing it."

Ontario Nurses Association Bargaining Committee President Barb Deter says nothing was accomplished.

"Very disappointing morning with management, the employer coming in and berating us because we're doing basically what we're suppose to be doing," says Deter.  "This is what a strike is, this is what a strike involves and they berated us and walked out the door."   

Deter says the employer walked away from the table without presenting an updated offer.

More than 80 nurse practitioners, public health nurses and registered practical nurses walked off the job after rejecting the health unit's latest offer on March 7th.

At that time, the association said the health unit failed to recognize the value of its female professionals.

ONA President Vicki McKenna said male-dominated professions such as police and firefighters receive far better contracts when it comes to wages.

The nurses provide services to nearly 500,000 Windsor-Essex residents.

Money is the key issue in the dispute.

No new talks are planned. 

--With files from AM800's Rob Hindi and Teresinha Medeiros--