Message from the UNA Local 115 Executive (Aug 2009)

Message from Secretary Ruth Duffy

To say that these are uncertain times would be a giant understatement. Not a day goes by without more conflicting news about the “economic crisis”. One minute the news reports say it is over and the next it is worsening. As in the 1990’s the approach is to cut back on public services. In Alberta, it is health care and, nurses in particular, that are targeted.

As nurses, we are continually receiving contradictory messages, there is no hiring freeze, but the postings have disappeared, there will be no cutbacks but some positions are being deleted. One day, the government recognizes a shortage of over 1500 nurses in Alberta and the next day, they state that we have “too many R.N.’s”. Even managers do not know if, or where, they will be working next week.

Job security is now a major concern for members, particularly new staff and undergraduate nurses. New grads are concerned they may be forced to relocate to other provinces or to the U.S. in order to secure employment. The employer and the government are repeating the mistakes of the 1990’s, which resulted in the loss of an entire generation of nurses in Alberta. With many nurses reaching retirement, and a projected shortage of over 6000 nurses, we cannot afford to lose yet another large group of highly educated and committed new members.

Nurses, who are often the sole support for their families, feel pressured to allow their rights to be eroded, at a time when it is most important that we stand together. When we allow our X days to be changed on short notice, so the manager does not pay overtime or when we give up other hard won rights under the Collective Agreement, we all lose. These erosions may have far reaching implications during our upcoming negotiations.

Communication is most important when we are uncertain as to what is really happening. It is only with accurate information that we can work together and resist the undermining of our professional standing, as we are seeing more and more articles in the media that are portraying nurses in a negative light. I encourage all members to sign up on UNA Net so as to be able to sort the fact from the rumors.

It is only by standing together, supported by our Collective Agreement that we, as nurses, will get through these very trying times.

Please contact your local executives to express your ideas or concerns. Our phone number is (403) 670-9960, or we can be reached at local115exec@una.ab.ca.

Ruth Duffy
Secretary, Local 115
United Nurses of Alberta,
Ph: 403-670-960 / Fax: 403-263-2908
Email: rduffy@una.ab.ca

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