Have my co-workers & I contemplated seeking legal counsel on our own? Yes. Unfortunately the union will block that move because there's language in the collective agreement that states this union will be the exclusive bargaining agent for the members. Have we explored the Human Rights Commission? Yes. Unfortunately a complaint can't be filed with the commission because they will state that as long as one is represented by a union, the complaint has to go through the union.
With regards to R.N.'s. The employer hasn't demoted any R.N.'s to L.P.N.'s/R.P.N.'s because there's nothing to demote them to. They are in a different union than the L.P.N.'s/R.P.N.'s. The employer is however, looking at reducing the number of R.N.'s this coming Fall. Yet, the employer isn't looking at reducing any police officers, fire fighters, etc., which is the whole point of this thread.
If these Nursing Homes were an entity unto themselves, the staff would have an easier time accepting the ongoing circumstances in their workplace. Yet, the fact remains that these Nursing Homes are part of the same corporation as Police, Fire, etc..