Message from the UNA Local 115 Executive (Dec 2010)

Message from President Kevin Champagne

First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude and thanks for the support that the membership has given to the Local executive over these last two years.

Looking back at the extreme changes that have faced the nurses in the province, one would believe we are reading a horror script.

Together we have faced many challenges. The down turn in the economy has been used as an excuse to fuel further cuts, in what many stakeholders see as an attempt to further the hidden agenda of privatization. Affiliates of UNA, Friends of Medicare, are asking the public to contact the government, (403 310 0000) and provide a clear message, “We support Public not private Health care”.

Dr Duckett and the Hon Ron Liepert were given the task of streamlining Healthcare in the province. As usual, this translated to a direct attack on the nurses of Alberta. We were asked to work short, while continuing a backbreaking pace attempting to maintain patient safety. Nurses have been loud and clear, with their message, the current state of Health care is not going to be sustainable, unless the government commits to supply the resources needed.

With the signing of a new collective agreement, Alberta Nurses paved a way for all labor movements here and in the rest of the Canada. Taking no roll backs was a clear message sent to the government and AHS, that Nurses want to be valued for the work they do on a daily basis. Not only did we take no rollbacks, contract language has been added to the agreement laying the foundation for a strong future for all RNS in Alberta. The new collective agreements shall be handed out in the early part of the New Year. An electronic copy is now available on the UNA web page.

The government was forced to reassign Mr. Leipert to a different portfolio, due to his outspoken disdain for Nurses. The new Minister of Health, Hon. Gene Zwozdesky, was strategic in establishing working relationships with the various stakeholders of health.
He did something that no Minister of Health has done. The Hon. Gene Zwozdesky went to the UNA Provincial office to meet with the Executive officers. Further, he has been open to meeting with all nursing advocate groups to hear concerns. Yet it re-mains to be seen how he will play out his role in the debate on Private versus public health care.

For Albertans and Nurses to be successful in this struggle to improve health care, it is key to become active in the discussions related to change. It is our responsibility to be advocates for the patients we represent. I would like to challenge all nurse to at-tend one local Union meeting to hear the current concerns that are facing the health care system.
I would like to remind all nurses to review your Collective bargaining agreements. Know your rights.

Kevin Champagne
UNA Local 115 President
Ph: 403-670-9960 Fax: 403-263-2908

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