The CEO and chief nursing officer of the Windsor Essex Health County Unit says she is “surprised and disappointed” after striking public nurses voted against a tentative agreement.

The nurses rejected the tentative deal in a vote on Tuesday.

“We worked hard with ONA’s negotiating team to ensure this offer, which contained an increase over our previous offer, was both fair to our public health nurses and responsible in light of the very real cost pressures we are facing due to the growing demand for services in our region,” said CEO Theresa Marentette in a statement.

Marentette said the offer that was made to Windsor-Essex public health nurses is more than competitive with the compensation of public health nurses across the the community:

“In fact, it is more generous than what their peers receive in jurisdictions including Toronto and Peel, despite the lower cost of living in our community,” said Marentette.

Marenetette said their top priority remains ensuring the health and well-being of the residents of Windsor-Essex County.

“Despite the ongoing labour disruption, management is doing everything it can to ensure that essential services are delivered to the community,” said Marentette.

ONA Local 8 spokesperson Barb Deter tells CTV Windsor they have asked the health unit and the provincial mediator to return to the bargaining table, but there are no new dates for negotiations.

Union officials are also expressing disappointment.

“We are disappointed that this strike will continue, and that our dedicated nurses are not yet able to go back to doing what they care so deeply about – working to ensure the health and well-being of their communities,” added Ontario Nurses’ Association president Vicki McKenna in a news release.

A tentative deal was reached Monday night. The nurses were off of the picket line on Tuesday, but returned to picket duties on Wednesday.

The 86 nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and public health nurses went on strike on March 8 to back demands for more money.