CUPE strike, the poop hath hittith the fan

  1. Okay, I'm a little scared. On Sept 18th, Health Care Aides, clerical support, and allied health care workers are hitting the picket line. Pebbles dear, you are also affected by this, what is your take on the issue? Anyone else?

    This is gonna be a fricken nightmare. Healthcare aides are the MAJORITY of the workers on my unit. How the heck are we gonna cope. I'm also kind of suspicious of why a few months ago, when us nurses were threatening to strike, we had contingency planning up the wazooo-- but I haven't heard a thing from administration about how we are going to staff our unit. Things are at bare bones staffing-wise as it is. There are not a lot of agency nurses or care aides in our city. I'm also worried about our patients -- they don't deserve it.


    Perhaps this also speaks of my general sense of detachment from reality and all those things related to "the big picture", but I have holidays coming up and I'm gonna be pizzed if they get cancelled.
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   sjoe
    Most likely admin has back-up phone numbers of HCA agencies, just like they have for RNs. Plus they know that the nurses will take up whatever slack is left, as they ALWAYS do. They just have to buy them pizza after it is all over.
  4. by   shannonRN
    been there done that...a couple of years ago our union members [(aides, secretaries, housekeeping, dietary...) pretty much all non nursing staff.] went on strike. we were forced to do 12 hour shifts, pass our trays, put orders in, and work short staffed. our hospital only got agency secretaries.
    sjoe, you are right. we nurses picked up all the slack. it was kind of funny cuz the patients said that the staff was much nicer and the service was better. of course when the strike ended , however, we didn't get a bit of recognition. no job well done, no thanks, no pizza.
  5. by   pebbles
    If they do go on strike, it will not help them. And so I hope they don't. If I thought it would bring them what they want, I'd say power to them, regardless of my own opinion of their demands.

    I think this strike will just show the employers and government that health care can function with less CUPE workers, especially health care aides - because nurses WILL pick up the slack. We have NO choice, according to our own contract, license requirements and *responsibilities*. So even if they did get a salary hike (which they won't), they'll be shooting themselves in the foot anyway. I think it'll all be for nothing anyway - they won't get more than the salary increases already offered.

    It's gonna be a really rough ride if this strike does happen. Even on my acute care unit, the HCA's do SO MUCH!
  6. by   CMERN
    PIZZA???? I hate PIZZA it means ..I just got screwd... or im fixin to get SCREWED. Donuts too....:chuckle :roll :blushkiss
  7. by   sjoe
    CMERN--Oh no, you've figured out the code!

    Guess they'll have to put a box of chocolates at the nurses' station next time, for each to have ONE or TWO pieces. Then wait to see how long it takes the nurses to figure that one out. (Cheaper than pizza anyway.)

    Or maybe a $15 bouquet of flowers placed there, so you'll all feel appreciated. That's almost as cheap as candy.

    Anything but adequate staffing or a financial bonus or a say in future staffing, etc.

    Let us know how it turned out in your case, Adrienne, after you have returned from the vacation paid for by your facility in appreciation for all the extra stuff you had to do during that trying time.
    Last edit by sjoe on Sep 16, '02
  8. by   fergus51
    I am lucky in L&D we don't use any care aides, but I also think they are shooting themselves in the foot. They aren't going to get most of their demands met by this gov't (I mean have they not been watching the news lately?!) and striking isn't going to change it.
  9. by   adrienurse
    This is going to sound not PC. The RNs in the provence got substancial raises this year. Okay, well it's a nursing shortage -- of course we got a raise -- anybody can understand why. This whole arguement for this strike is "well THEY got one, so why can't we?" You know, I became a nurse so I didn't have to live on 13$ an hour, so I can appreciate how difficult that must be in this time and age. BUt we're professionals! Our training didn't consist of 3 months, it took years......................okay, getting into bad political territory here gotta stop.
  10. by   pebbles
    I agree with you though Adrienne. But I DO support the right to go for what you want in labour bargaining, so that is whay I say that if I thought it would get them anywhere, I would support them. The Aides at work today were saying they think the strike will happen for sure, but it will be short-lived because they'll be legislated back to work. We'll see.

    Just the other day, my mum and I were talking about how so many people in our society think they can get the $20/hr jobs without any real education to back it. The price of living in a wealthy capitalist society. Expectations are exceeding the reality as far as standard of living - not just in health care. Ask any employers about the crappy workers they get for a low-paying job. Fewer people are willing to work hard for less than the "middle-class" standard. And the middle class standard now includes a computer and three TV's.... So yeah, people do want to get paid the big bucks - not understanding or acknowledging that there is a shortage of highly educated nurses which was the drive behind the nurses' increased salary.
  11. by   adrienurse
    Did you mention once that your Mom works at RHC?

    It's getting to me that we STILL vave NOT heard any details of what we can expect staffing-wise next week. This burns me. What the heck is the WRHA doing?
  12. by   pebbles
    I don't know but at my place we fall into the trap of doing managements job for them TOO often... we worry ahead of time and ask each other to fill in short spots in the schedule, etc. This time it's NOT MY PROBLEM. Basic safe pt care will get done regardless. If people do not get baths or do not get to Xray as fast, so what.... emergencies will still get taken care of. Yeah, I will feel bad about the patients... but that doesn't mean that I have to take on any emotional or actual responsibility for the shortfalls....

    My mum used to work at RHC - she had to quit because it was too physically tiring. Now she does home care and loves it... there is apparently a whole other world out there.... Who knew?
  13. by   fergus51
    Care aides in some old folks' homes here make what new grad RNs make. I know the top earning care aides at one home make 24$ an hour (start at about 18$). I understand their job is difficult, but with the level of education and level of responsibility they have I don't think 13$ an hour is that unreasonable.
  14. by   adrienurse
    An interesting point was brought up by my aunt last night (a teacher). Ever wondered why it is illegal in Manitoba for teachers to strike, but not for nurses and other healthcare workers. Really, who dies if a teacher goes on strike. Just another demension to look at. It is nice, though to have some bargaining power.

    3 days till strike.

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