Ont. nurses protest breakdown in contract talks

Registered Nurses protest at Queen's Park on March 19, 2014. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun)

Registered Nurses protest at Queen's Park on March 19, 2014. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun)

Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 5:49 PM ET

TORONTO -- Ontario nurses and their supporters rallied at Queen's Park to complain about being overworked and undervalued following the breakdown of negotiations with the province's hospitals.

Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) president Linda Haslam-Stroud said nurses are being told that they're "rich" and should accept wage and benefit rollbacks.

"I've been negotiating now for 34 years. I've been involved in provincial bargaining for most of those decades, this round to me is the most despicable in relation to the lack of value of the nurses," Haslam-Stroud said Wednesday. "The government is basically saying they're going to balance the budget on our backs."

Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) negotiators demanded a 3% rollback in wages for new nurses entering the grid -- a $26,000 loss over eight years -- and changes to the shift differential and how experience is calculated for nurses transferring between facilities, she said.

In an ONA e-mail to members, nurses were told the OHA made a "ridiculous" offer, especially given the most recent wage increases to police and physicians.


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