Arbitrator awards 65,000 Ontario hospital workers 6% wage increase

An arbitrator has awarded 65,000 Ontario hospital workers a six per cent wage increase that will “lift the spirits of frontline hospital workers,” the union that represents them said in a release.

The workers represented by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions – CUPE (OCHU-CUPE) will receive retroactive three per cent wage increases going back to September 2023 and an additional three per cent wage hike in September 2024.

SEIU Healthcare workers will receive three per cent wage increases retroactive to January 2024 and another three per cent in January 2025.

CUPE said in a release that they were also awarded improvements to health and dental benefits, enhancements to weekend, evening, and night premiums, and pay for periods of quarantine or isolation due to outbreaks of communicable illnesses.

The unions also achieved mandatory reporting around agency usage, which financial reporting makes clear is an expensive band-aid to the long-running staffing crisis.

“Hospital workers can temporarily breathe a sigh of relief knowing their wages are going up six percent over the next two years with this new contract,” said President of SEIU Healthcare, Sharleen Stewart.

“Today’s arbitration decision will lift the spirits of frontline hospital workers who are struggling with impossible workloads in a staff retention crisis,” added Michael Hurley, President of OCHU-CUPE.

“Significant improvements to dental and other benefits, real wage increases, and substantial adjustments to premiums will all contribute to making these frontline hospital staff feel valued and help them to better cope with the cost-of-living crisis that all working people are facing.”

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