Three thousand striking community health workers will return to work on Tuesday after the two sides agreed to arbitration.

The members of the Ontario Nurses Association walked off the job last month -- wages were the main issue.

Nine of Ontario's 14 Community Care Access Centres were affected.

Talks resumed on Saturday between the union and the Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres with the help of a mediator.

The two sides agreed arbitration was the best way to end the 16 day labour dispute.

The spokesman for management is pleased the nine centres will be resume providing full care to patients.

"We look forward to having our employees return to CCACs to resume their important work in providing care to patients," Megan Allen-Lamb, who is also CEO of North Simcoe Muskoka CCAC, said in a release issued Sunday.

But Linda Haslam-Stoud, the president of the nurses association, blasted management for taking so long to agree to arbitration.

"There has been a colossal waste of health care dollars as the employer spent taxpayers' money foolishly on catered meals for management, overtime, strike-breaking security firms and high-priced lawyers, and who knows what else - with complete disregard for the public purse," she said in a statement.

"We always believed that our offer of several months ago to go to interest arbitration was fair and reasonable."

The workers include registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists, among other health professionals.