Message from Treasurer Malcolm Weisgerber
Last month the local 115 executive spent two days reviewing the questionnaires received. We had a return of 223 questionnaires from a membership of nearly 3000. From these we learned the majority of members work part-time versus full-time, with a few more who work 12 hour versus 8 hour. ER and ICU were the two units with the majority of responses. Some of the highlights from the responses were:
- between 0% – 3% for wage increases
- deletion of X-days for part-time staff ( this was not sent as a local proposal as was considered a rollback)
- shift premiums to increase $2 – $5
- increases to benefits and a health spending account
- increases to sick leave, vacation and named holidays
…just to name a few. In addition, the executive also recommended many contract language changes in response to grievances encountered throughout the year and in the past. At the last local meeting the membership approved a list of almost 150 items to be sent to the provincial negotiating committee as local 115‟s proposals.
Over the summer, and more recently, the provincial government and the Alberta Health Services board sent out strong signals and clear messages regarding the future of health care in Alberta. These communications have elicited strong reactions from the nursing community. The government and AHS have been successful in creating an atmosphere of fear and distrust amongst nurses. The questionnaires we received back clearly indicated this fear. The two greatest messages were job security and no rollbacks. Evidence the government has succeeded in creating the apprehension about jobs. Distrust comes from their message of „lower cost alternatives‟, pitting the RN against the LPN. We are all nurses working together for the wellness of the patient; we need to stay strong collectively to fight this strategy, and not to enable the politicians and Alberta Health Services.
Last week, the negotiating committee spent five days and evenings coming up with a comprehensive, and achievable proposal package to present to the delegates at the Demand Setting Meeting in November. Every local proposal, including proposals from the Labour Relation Officers and the Director of Labour Relations were looked at. The local proposals from across the province – both facility and community – ranged from minimal to those of high expectations. As a committee, it was a challenge to find a balance between these extremes and to keep in mind the changed economic and political climates. We need to not only maintain what we have, but to enhance the requirements and needs of the registered nurse. This is the time to make our contract stronger for the betterment of all nurses, both young and old er… more experienced!
In solidarity and service,
Treasurer, Local 115
United Nurses of Alberta,
Ph: 403-670-960 / Fax: 403-263-2908