9/2/10

Non-union hospital staff forced to take two years of zeroes. An incentive for unionization?

The Toronto Star reports: "Thousands of Ontario nurses who work at ...non-unionized hospitals complain they're getting the cold shoulder from Premier Dalton McGuinty's public sector pay freeze."

While the non-union RNs are in the midst of a government imposed two year wage freeze, unionized RNs got pay increases April 1, as per their collective agreement.   “I don’t know why they’re doing this to us,” non-union RN Julia Fisher said. “The government has created a two-tier pay schedule. We’re being penalized.”

Even bosses at non-union hospitals are not pleased with the situation. They fear it will be harder to recruit and retain no-union staff.  “We are concerned the government’s freeze is creating significant inequity between union and non-unionized staff doing the same work,” said Janet Davidson, president and chief executive of Trillium in Mississauga.

Davidson's reference to "staff" is appropriate as a similar problem applies to non-unionized Registered Practical Nurses and non-unionized office and support employees. Unlike their CUPE counterparts covered by the central OCHU agreement, they will not receive wage increases for two years thanks to legislation introduced by the McGuinty government earlier this year.

The Star also notes "the issue could be a tricky one .... for hospitals, which could find the pay gap an incentive for nurses to join unions."

dallan@cupe.ca

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