Nurses' negotiations worry health care support workers

Nurses Activism



some health care support workers say a possible nurses' strike may have implications for them at the bargaining table.

on monday, morning the manitoba nurses' union announced its members will take a strike vote march 18. now another health union is at the bargaining table: cupe local 1550 represents 10,000 health care aides, dietary, clerical and housekeeping staff.

spokesperson marlene tartsch says members are expecting more than the seven per cent increase they received over the past three years. she says prior to that agreement, workers went 10 years without a raise.

tartsch says some workers are worried if the province gives nurses what they want, there won't be much left over for them.

"it did come out loud and clear at some of the locals we met with: they are just concerned that's just what is going to happen, that nurses will get the whole big pie and there won't be anything left for us," says tartsch. "we are just trying to tell them, 'no, the last time we got pretty close to what the nurses got.'"

* wage parity important for support workers *

the nurses' union is asking for a 29 per cent wage increase over two years. the province is offering about half of that over three years.

the health care support workers' union hasn't put a dollar figure on the table yet. tartsch says in addition to a wage increase, cupe wants to make salaries for aides the same across the province.

the average wage for a health support worker is $13 per hour.

the next meeting for the province and the union representing support workers is scheduled for march 12. the current contract expires at the end of april.

cbc news story

publicly funded health care means the pie can only be so big... wonder if thats different in private health care.

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