I'm a nurse who works in one of three municiply run LTC facilities. A few years ago our city council decided to divest themselves of two of their LTC facilities. Their primary arguement was that under legislation, they are not obligated to have more than one facility. These two facilities are scheduled to close in a couple of years and these residents transfered to another facility run by a different organization.
A few months ago, city council decided to demote several nurses down to lower paid nursing aides in an attempt to further save money.
Over the past few years I have sent numerous letters and e-mails to our union officials both here locally and to the national office, indicating everything that is and has been transpiring in these three facilities is 100% discrimination against women. The basis of my arguments are as follows:
1) This municipality has other departments which include police & fire departments, transit, garbage collection, etc. These three LTC facilities are not entities unto themselves, but rather part of the same corporation as the other departments.
2) Both police and fire departments are 100% full time employment, while these three LTC facilities are approximately 70% part time.
3) Under legislation this municipality is not obligated to have its own police force. They can contract this out to the provincial police. Yet they choose to have their own police force.
4) Many believe that this municipality would never demote a bunch of police seargents down to constables in order to save money, yet they decided to demote a bunch of nurses.
5) Both Police & Fire depratments are male dominated work forces, while the three LTC facilities are female dominated.
6) Both Police & Fire, as well as the three LTC facilities, are considered "essential services", which means they are unable to strike.
My latest e-mail to our union officials included a link from another union in this country that launched a radio commercial to educate the public about their members who are being treated like second class citizens. That commercial can be heard here:
This is what I had suggested for our union to do on a number of occaisons a few years ago, when city council was debating the issue of divesting themselves of two of their LTC Facilities. This was to issue an ultimatum to our local city council to end their ongoing acts of discrimination towrds the staff at these three LTC facilities, or the union would launch a nationwide education campaign, educating the country of how this council treats their female dominated workforce. Our union routinely dismissed the idea. Once I heard this commercial about a month ago, I once again pushed the idea based on the fact that if this particular union (OPSEU) can do it, there's absolutely no excuse why our union couldn't do the same. I indicated that the union's ultimatum needs to include a reversal of city councils decision on their divesting of the two LTC facilities and the imediate reversal of the demotion of these nurses. Today I got the union's response (which took nearly a month) which reads:
In regards to your correspondence we have met numerous times and have discussed your concerns as outlined in your email. If you have further issues please don't hesitate to contact me as I would be happy to arrange a meeting to discuss the merits of your arguments. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
So, I guess the nearly quarter of a million dollars that the workers (including nurses) at these three LTC facilities pay every year isn't good enough. So you nurses who are considering joining a union, look very carefully at their track record. The unfortunate reality is that there are many unions out there who veiw nurses and other health care workers as nothing more than a bunch of women and therefore not a priority, other than a steady cashflow to line their fat pockets.
Oh and by the way, the demotion of these nurses proceeded as planned.
Quote from Fiona59
Are you telling us that RNs were demoted and their professional body didn't get involved?
The nurses that were demoted are LPN's. The R.N.'s in these three facilities are not represented by the same union. However, they are going to be facing actual layoffs this Fall. Yet, their collective agreement has specific language not to reduce their current numbers any further. During the period of time that this municipality was divesting themselves of the two LTC facilities, the union representing the R.N.'s did virtually nothing.
It's worth mentioning here that there have been cases over the years where employers (including the one that I work for) have hired both LPN's and RN's as lower paid care aides, knowing full well that these LPN's & RN's are still accountable according to their professional designation. So these employers are getting the so called biggest bang for their buck. In my world, that's pure exploitation, yet this is also allowed by many of these unions that claim to represent nurses and other health care workers.
Last edit by Truth66 on Jul 28, '09
Quote from Nurse-88
So are you telling me that they Demoted Registered Staff: RPN's down to what is basically a Personal Support Worker, or Health Care Aide?
If so, that seems like somthing that should be deemed as illegal. How can you demote a registered professional down to a position that has nothing to do with their scope of practice, or job description?
I can see them laying off the RPN's, but demoting them to a PSW, that's 100% wrong, and most likely not even allowed.
Which city do you live in? Must be a smaller town, this kind of un-professional activity wouldn't fly here in Toronto.
I'd love to tell you what city I live in. Unfortunately there's a small section in Labour law called duty of fidelity meaning that one has to be loyal to their employer in that they are not allowed to speak out publicly against their employer or it's grounds for termination. I almost lost my job over that one once before. This is why you hear every once in a while about Whistle Blower Protection
To be more specific, the employer actually layed off these LPN's/RPN's and under the collective agreement a person can either take the layoff or bump into a lower paid classification, which in this case would be a Care Aide. Yet, the bottom line here is that the employer has demoted these LPN's/RPN's because they are unwilling to pay their full wage and knowing that these LPN's/RPN's are still held accountable to their governing body as LPN's/RPN's. The employer actually tried doing this before and it was challenged under Pay Equity in that the employer couldn't reduce a person's wages as a direct result of Pay Equity. Unfortunately the union is unwilling to challenge this demotion under pay equity either, in spite of the fact that I provided them with the previous documents.
With regards to language in the collective agreement, there is a section that states "The Union acknowledges that it is the exclusive function of the Corporation: to hire, transfer, promote, demote, lay-off, recall, assign duties, and suspend, discipline or discharge any employee for cause."
Now whether the collective agreement of the police officers has this language in theirs, I'd have to look it up tomorrow when I'm at work.
Quite frankly for any union to allow language to exist in a collective agreement about allowing demotion is pathetic representation, especially when it comes to nurses. This is based on the fact of what I've mentioned already. These nurses are still held accountable according to their professional designation by their regulatory body. This is regardless of whether they're employed as a nurse, or as a care aide. If demoted to a care aide, then exploitation!!!!
Last edit by Truth66 on Jul 28, '09