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Ontario hospital workers are preparing for a round of strike votes to strengthen their hand in the battle to fight the privatization of health care.

The Ontario Hospital Association broke off bargaining last week after tabling proposals that would strip “no contacting out” language, reduce lay-off notice and pay one per cent increases in years three, four and five of the agreement.

Calling the five-year proposal a “blueprint for privatization”, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions and the SEIU are seeking a strike mandate from their locals, determined to get OHA back to the table and avoid arbitration.