The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is threatening more cuts to hospitals and creating a chill in labour relations in the wake of a recent arbitration decision, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
“The OHA had an opportunity to negotiate a deal with our hospital professionals, but instead chose to go to arbitration,” says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Now they are threatening layoffs in the midst of an H1N1 crisis and are calling for changes to the orderly process defined by the Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act (HLDAA).”
The professionals in these bargaining units are critical to the government’s wait times strategy.
The OHA’s threats were issued upon the release of a unanimous arbitration award that gave a 2.5 per cent per year increases to hospital professionals such as lab technologists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, respiratory therapists and MRI Technologists. The award follows recent 3 and 4 per cent settlements with other professionals such as nurses and doctors.
“Many of these professionals are facing acute shortages,” says Thomas. “The OHA talks about retention and recruitment, but then turns around and says these professionals aren’t valued like doctors and nurses. It’s insulting and counter productive.”
OPSEU maintains HLDAA is a fair process, one that the OHA has been happy with for years.
“HLDAA has maintained labour peace for years,” says Thomas. “Does OHA CEO Tom Closson really want to throw labour relations into chaos at this critical time?”