A new, tentative agreement has been reached for hospital workers across the province.

Unifor, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and SEIU Healthcare joined forces to negotiate the deal with the Ontario Hospital Association. Workers across the province are set to vote on the new contract over the next few weeks.

“We joined forces to see if we could collectively negotiate a fair, collective agreement for the 75,000 hospital workers that we represent in Ontario. We saw nothing but concessions from the Ontario Hospital Association,” said Judy Bain, president of the local hospital workers union.

One of the main concerns that hospital workers had was that workers are experiencing violence in their workplace, something that the new tentative agreement addressed. The new contract also includes wage increases.

"We have achieved new violence language which includes agreement by the hospitals that a workplace free of violence is a shared goal. We are committed to work to stop the violence that our members experience at work. For that reason, the battle for respect will continue," says Michael Hurley, president of CUPE's Ontario Council of Hospital Unions.

In November 2017, a report was released by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions that showed that roughly 70 per cent of the 2,000 health-care workers surveyed experienced at least one incident of physical violence in the past year. For 20 per cent of respondents however, they reported being subjected to assaults nine of more times over the past year.

For non-physical abuse, such as threats of intimidation, 83 per cent say they endured at least one incident, and 35 per cent reported at least nine incidents. Sexual harassment or sexual assault was also reported. For at least one incident, 42 respondents said it happened in the past year. Roughly six per cent said it happened nine times or more.

“We are one of the most efficient health-care systems across Canada. We’re the hardest working, we have the fewest beds, we’re underfunded and they just keep expecting us to do more with less. We’re tired. Our workloads are back-breaking. We’re facing violence in our hospitals. Enough is enough. We deserve some respect,” Bain added.

Last week, workers rallied at local hospitals, as well as across the province, in support of the contract negotiations that took place over the weekend.

For more information:
Hospital workers rally in Kenora