Hastings Prince Edward Public Health facing further strike action

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HPE Public Health facing further strike action
WATCH: With its nursing staff already on strike for almost a month, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health now faces further strike action from its CUPE represented employees – Sep 11, 2023

It was Aug. 21 when health-care workers represented by the Ontario Nurses’ Association working at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) went on strike.

Since that day, all the nursing staff have been picketing day in and day out.

ONA Local 31 president Josh Davidson-Marcon says nothing has changed from the start when it comes to negotiating.

“We did try to indicate that there were some creative ways we could come back to the table. Unfortunately, pay is going to be our biggest concern and with no willingness for the mandate to move, we’ve reached a point where we can’t go any further,” said Josh Davidson-Marcon, ONA Local 31 Bargaining Unit president.

The nurses strike has hampered the public health unit’s services, including various infant services, immunization clinics and smoking cessation.

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All the more concerning for Hastings Prince Edward area residents, it was announced this week that workers at the same public health unit represented by the Canadian Union of Public

Employees could also go on strike if a deal can’t be reached by September 22.

“The employer, unfortunately, hasn’t given the local any deal to let the members vote on. There’s no final offer that they’ve provided that we can actually take to the members to say ‘is this enough for you?” said Kim Craig, president of CUPE Local 3314 which represents the workers at HPEPH.

CUPE workers at HPEPH are support staff including dietitians, public health inspectors and more.

CUPE Local 3314 president Kim Craig says that they’re going to strike because they’re now six years without a new deal, and she says they’re seeking a deal similar to what workers at Kingston Health Sciences Centre used to have, before they negotiated a better deal.

Global News reached out to the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Unit for comment, however a representative said in a statement that media requests are on hold while contract negotiations are in progress.

“The hope is that the employer brings us an offer that we can bring to the membership. The hope is that the employer actually follows through with their statement that they value our work,” added Craig.

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She said that the entire health unit would essentially grind to a halt if CUPE workers join ONA members on strike.

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