June 11, 2019 12:09 pm
Updated: June 11, 2019 12:11 pm

Strike averted as Peterborough VON home-care staff reach tentative contract

A sign at a VON rally on June 5 in Peterborough.

Global News Peterborough
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A strike has been averted after employees with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) in Peterborough reached a new tentative collective agreement on Monday.

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The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4419 says a “fruitful” day of mediation on Monday resulted in the new agreement between home-care and health staff at VON Peterborough/Victoria/Haliburton. Represented by CUPE 4410, the union and VON’s contract talks involved a Ministry of Labour-appointed conciliator. Negotiations broke off in late May and the union filed for a ‘no board’ report with the ministry that signified possible labour disruption.

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Nearly 120 personal support workers and other home-care staff were without a new contract for three years and were in strike position as of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

“That the two parties have reached a tentative contract means that once our members ratify the new deal, the medically vulnerable patients who receive care from us and our agency, will continue to benefit from the quality care and supports we provide,” stated Meagan Kempenaar, CUPE 4419 president.

At a rally on June 5, Kempenaar said the three years of negotiations were stalled. The union argued that the provincial minimum wage for PSWs is $16.50 per hour but said many VON staff were earning below that base rate.

“It’s now 2019 and our employer is still not giving a fair wage to our employees,” she said during a rainy protest at Confederation Square.

Kempenaar said a contract ratification vote is slated for Thursday.

No details on the new agreement were provided.

– More to come.

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