Island hospital workers ratified new contract 100%

TORONTO—CUPE, the union representing more than 150 hospital workers in the Espanola and Manitoulin hospitals have ratified a collective bargaining agreement, with a 100 percent vote in favour, just days before the provincial election.

“Hospital workers do not have the right to strike,” noted CUPE communications spokesperson Stella Yerdon. Without a negotiated agreement, CUPE 1332 would have faced binding arbitration, and that would have presented issues as CUPE are the only health workers that had managed to hold onto their job security provisions. “A negotiated settlement is always preferable,” she said.

The collective bargaining agreement includes modest salary increases of 1.4 percent last year and this year, and a 1.6 percent increase next year and 1.65 in the final year of the four-year contract.

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“We now have a four-year deal and stability in the workforce,” said Ms. Yerdon. “The hospitals were happy to sign the deals.”

Manitoulin Health Centre CEO Derek Graham agrees. “Given the economic climate and in light of the political realities it was probably an astute move,” said Mr. Graham. “We were as glad to see a multi-year agreement, that predictability helps us with our planning. I think that kind of stability was important for the union workers as well.”

CUPE 1332 represents support staff at the Manitoulin Health Centre, some clerical staff and the hospital’s registered practical nurses (RPN).