Sudbury

Tentative deal reached for public health nurses in Sudbury

A tentative deal has been reached for public health nurses in Sudbury who have been without a contract since March.

Agreement reached Tuesday night

The Ontario Nurses' Association represents 97 public health nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners in the Sudbury area. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

A tentative agreement has been reached for public health nurses in Sudbury who have been without a contract since March.

On Tuesday evening, the deal was reached between the Ontario Nurses' Association and Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

The association represents 97 public health nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners in the Sudbury area.

Details of the collective agreement can't be released just yet, as the board needs to review it and the nurses need to ratify it.

Vicki McKenna is a registered nurse and the provincial president of the Ontario Nurses' Association.

"It's been a tough round of negotiations," she said. "But they really did want a collective agreement. They wanted a contract. They certainly didn't want to be forced out on strike."

The provincial government is currently making changes to the health care system, including consolidating the number of health units across Ontario. McKenna says her union represents most nurses who work at health units, adding recent contract talks have been challenging.

"We've had the most difficult rounds of bargaining in almost every health unit in this province," she said.

Vicki McKenna is president of the Ontario Nurses' Association. (CBC)

"I think part of it is the health transformation that's underway, there's some uncertainty for sure. It's tense. It's quite a dramatic change."

McKenna adds that job security has been a part of the bargaining conversations.

"There needs to be mechanisms and procedures in place so that people are treated fairly," she said. "We need them working."

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