Message from the UNA Local 115 Executive (Jun 2009)

Message from Vice-President Kathleen Hamnett


I was thinking about what I am going to write that members would want to know.

In talking to members, these are some of the concerns:

  • Where did all the nursing postings go?
  • How will the restructuring of AHS impact my employment and current workload?
  • Am I at risk to lose my position?
  • Can the Union be dissolved?
  • Can AHS eliminate RN/RPN positions?
  • What happens if AHS closes beds?
  • What are my rights under the collective agreement?
  • How am I going to survive?

A month ago, I didn’t think I would be listening to nursing graduates being interviewed concerned that they may need to relocate outside of Alberta to seek nursing employment. Or supporting members receiving their layoff notice.

According to AHS (Alberta Health Services) there is a “Vacancy Management Process”. In essence, this process is for reviewing each job to ensure that it is necessary. The underlying question is what was the purpose or motive for taking away the postings? Dr.
Duckett says, the purpose is to make himself accountable for each position in the region. Was it driven by fiscal management or a plan to re-title the positions and repost? It will all play out shortly.

It has not changed the fact that front-line nurses continue o work extra shifts for short notice calls and cover vacant positions. Management, at times continues to pay overtime for positions that they do not have permission to fill. Nurses do care what happens to each other and their patients. All the restructuring has done is create anxiety and mistrust of the leadership.

I would hope there were lessons learned from the 1990’s, when nurses had to re-locate and leave their extended families for employment in other provinces and countries. From this, I would also hope that as a membership, we stand together with a united voice, so nurses are not again put in the position of leaving the province to work.

We now have an opportunity to pull together and strengthen our commitment to each other. Apathy may be our worst enemy at this time. I say this, not to point fingers at members, but in response to Dr. Duckett’s answer to a question posed to him at a
forum in Calgary. This forum was to reveal his restructuring plan for AHS, he clearly stated “because Staff had not told him differently”. Unfortunately, Staff had the impression by not responding to Dr. Duckett’s survey/blog, would mean everything remained the same.

Most of the answers to the questions above are right here amongst us. It is us, as Nurses and our Collective Agreement that will assist us through this trying time. Most importantly, it will be what we do to support each other, to not get caught up in the political game at play that will help us all survive another attack on nurses. So lets stand together and deal with the issues at hand.

Kathleen Hamnett
Vice President, Local 115
United Nurses of Alberta,
Ph: 403-670-960 / Fax: 403-263-2908


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