Thunder Bay

New mediator with 'more experience' assigned to Thunder Bay, Ont., health unit strike, union says

The union representing the nearly 60 striking public health nurses at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit says they are hoping to get back to the bargaining table this week with a new mediator to help them with their negotiations.

Union asked the health unit to 'actually bargain ... instead of just meet' on Friday

The union representing the public health nurses at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit say it's waiting for a response from the health unit about getting back to the bargaining table on Friday, Nov. 16. (Matt Prokopchuk / CBC)

The union representing the nearly 60 striking public health nurses at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit says they are hoping to get back to the bargaining table this week with a new mediator.

"We were looking for someone who might have a little more experience in pushing the employer to come back to the table with us," said Ontario Nurses Association's labour relations team lead, Pat Carr.

Public health nurses in Thunder Bay, Ont., have been on strike since Oct. 16.

Carr said the Thunder Bay District Health Unit proposed a brief meeting to be held "late in the day" on Friday, Nov. 16, however the union wants to "actually bargain ... for the day, instead of just meet."

"We already asked the health unit to spend more time with us on Friday [and] they had indicated they would get back to us but we had not heard back from them," Carr added. "So we did engage the assistance of another mediator."

She said the ONA contacted the Ministry of Labour to "ask about [the] availability" of another mediator and "they assigned someone senior to the case."

On Tuesday, Carr said members of the union are still waiting for a response from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit regarding the Friday meeting.

CBC Thunder Bay asked the health unit if it will be sitting down with the nurses and the new mediator this week.

Officials from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit replied with an emailed statement from Lance Dyll, the director of corporate services, saying "we are in communication with Ontario Nurses's Association regarding next steps."

"We remain committed to the negotiations process and reaching an agreement that is acceptable to both parties."