The Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) set up dozens of pickets at hospitals across the province on February 23 to call for better wages, better staffing and better care for patients.
The nurses are in bargaining with Ford’s government for a new collective agreement. After working through the pandemic and having their wage increases capped at 1% under Bill 124, nurses are fed up and are demanding better wages and working conditions.
They are also demanding better care for their patients whose safety is at risk after years of understaffing and crushing workloads. One nurse at Toronto picket said, “I am a mid-career nurse and I’m held together by orthotics and support hose, but I want to stay with my patients. I worked through the pandemic and all I am getting from Ford is meaningless praise.
Another nurse said, ‘We can’t have a revolving door of temporary nurses without stable jobs, this is our time to fight, and I’m so glad to see so much support from other unions.’
Several hundred supporters were at the lively picket today at hospital row on University Avenue in Toronto including unions members from OPSEU, UFCW, OSSTF, IATSE, Steelworkers and several NDP MPPs.
The Ford government tabled a bill this week to open the door to private hospitals to ‘deal with’ the crisis they created in hospital care. Nurses and their supporters are rightfully furious that the funding that should be going to public healthcare is being handed to private corporations to make profit.
The next action by the ONA is a mass rally where bargaining is happening, at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto on March, 2pm. Everyone is invited.