Canadian Nursing Strike

  1. Wanted to let you all know that Sasketchewan and Nova Scotia nurses are close to striking for improved wages, benefits and working conditions. NS nurses can walk out on June 27 but are still negotiating. Highest paid NS nurse makes $45000 Cdn (about $29000 US funds) with a higher tax cut and higher cost of living re groceries and gas. Almost all purchases have a 15% sales tax as well.

    They were offered 2% per year for 3 years, wages have been frozen for 5 years I believe. Also $750/year tuition and 3weeks vacation for up to 4y of service and 4 weeks/year after that. Rejected the offer of course.

    So now they are in a legal strike position but because of the health care system in Canada their employer is essentially the province, as their salaries are budgeted for by the provincial health dept. The government has called an emergency meeting of the legislature to declare nursing an "essential service" making striking illegal, and cutting off any opportunity for appeal of the decision. This after the unions involved offered to allow for 50% staffing so emergencies would not go untreated.

    I of course am living in Maine so cannot picket or demonstrate. They have been demonstrating daily and attending the round the clock "emergency" legislature sessions. I fired off letters to provincial and national newspapers, and the CBC. Anyone interested in putting in their two cents worth, or with a suggestion as to how we can help from here, I would love to hear from you.

    And right now would probably be a good time to run any recruitment ads in halifax newspapers, you will probably get good results, and also help support the demands of nurses who choose to stay.

    Thanks for listening.
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    Canoehead, it never fails to amaze me how utterly STUPID the gov't is. We are also in contract negotiations in BC and voted 97% to reject the last contract offer. I don't understand how the gov't thinks they are going to recruit and retain nurses when a new grad in Washington can make more than a nurse with 30 years experience here.

    Weren't nurses in Quebec declared essential services too? They had public support and were able to continue on. I hope the people of Sask and NS support their nurses as much.
  4. by   canoehead
    If they outlaw striking to prevent pay raises then they will lose half their nurses, and then be able to cut the healthcare budget and blame nurses for the decline in care quality.

    I'm kidding, but actually it would be right in character. Our provincial premier is a doc, I actually worked with him as a nursing student and expected more of him.

    Just checked the newspaper; union leaders in Nova Scotia are gathering to plan a rally supporting the nurses and to express their outrage at the new bill to outlaw the strike. So far six unions are involved, and their members are calling in wanting to support nurses in some way, knowing that if nurses lose the right to strike they could be next.


    I am so pleased that the nurses are getting so much support from other unions and the public. They are determined, and it helps to have backup.

    [ June 18, 2001: Message edited by: canoehead ]
  5. by   canoehead
    Six other unions in the province of Nova Scotia and the Medical Society are publicly supporting the nurses' right to strike, and are attending a rally at 6pm today. Police were already gathering this morning, and nurses will walk out of provincial hospitals today to go down to 50% staffing to attend and in support of the rally, with the exception of critical care areas.
  6. by   DMR1
    wow, I live in Sask and I never knew anything about them being close to strike.

    I, for one, do hope they go on strike, since I'll be working here when I finish NEPS and can be a Perioperative Nurse. Higher the wages, the better
  7. by   NRSKarenRN
    First post was from 2001!!

    Canoehead, care to enlighten us with outcome?
  8. by   fergus51
    The BC contract that nurses rejected was simply legislated on them. I am a prime example of how this hurt recruitment and retention as I have since moved to Ontario. I say nurses need to vote with their feet when voting no on a contract clearly has no effect on a government.
  9. by   travelbug
    Hi, Canadian R.N.s, I'm one too ( N.S.). It hurts to see that the nursing situation hasn't really improved all that much since I left in 1991. It's a nice place to visit but I WOULDN'T WANT TO WORK THERE. I'm going "home" this summer to visit only. Your in my prayers.

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Canadian Nursing Strike