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Niagara home care nurses begin countdown to legal strike

NIAGARA – Professional staff who deliver home nursing services in Niagara and Norfolk counties will be in a strike position as of midnight Friday, March 20.

A no-board report was issued by the Minister of Labour this week, beginning  a countdown towards a legal strike or lockout.

Care Partners is a private for-profit agency under contract to the Community Care Access Centre. The agency delivers nursing services including oncology, dialysis, pediatric, wound and diabetic care.

The employer has dragged out the process, agreeing to very few bargaining dates in the 20 months these professional workers have been without a contract.  

“Care Partners appears more concerned about breaking the union than they are preserving the continuity of care delivered to their clients,” says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the 130,000-member Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

Last fall unionized staff at the agency voted 94 per cent to give their bargaining team a strike mandate.

It is anticipated that the Community Care Access Centre will stop referring clients to Care Partners and start the triage process of transferring existing patients with the highest care needs to alternate providers.

“This employer has shown little interest in getting a deal done, disregarding their obligations to patients under their care,” says Thomas. “It’s time for the Community Care Access Centre to pay attention to how Care Partners is conducting its business on their behalf.”