Nurses begin strike vote

Everton McLean
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Health/labour

Elizabeth King was not smiling as she slid her ballot into a box at a St. John's hotel Monday, zipped up her jacket and left.

She had just cast her vote on whether nurses in this province should strike after months of making little progress towards a collective agreement with the government.

Nurse Tamara Biehn casts her ballot during a strike vote for the Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union at the Holiday Inn Monday morning. - Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Elizabeth King was not smiling as she slid her ballot into a box at a St. John's hotel Monday, zipped up her jacket and left.

She had just cast her vote on whether nurses in this province should strike after months of making little progress towards a collective agreement with the government.

"I'm frustrated," she said. "It's not about the money, and it seems the public knows about the money. But it's (about) working conditions."

About 2,200 nurses in the St. John's area were eligible to vote Monday, the beginning of a six-week process that will see all the province's 5,000 nurses get an opportunity to decide if they should go to the picket lines.

Debbie Forward, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union (NLNU), also cast her ballot Monday.

"It is a big moment and an emotional moment, actually," she said afterwards.

Forward said no one really wants a strike, but if it comes to that, "the premier will wear the health-care system (issues)."

"The health-care system is his responsibility and I think he's dropped that ball," she said, noting that last week nurses were willing to accept a 16 per cent raise over two years, down from their original bargaining position of 24 per cent.

"If the premier won't stand up for the health-care system, then nurses will."

Beyond wages and workload issues, nurses are concerned about proposed provisions that would allow the employer to cut a nurse's position if the person is away from work for an extended time due to injury.

Forward said they are also worried about new recruiting methods that would allow the employer to unilaterally decide to pay nurses brought into the province more than nurses already working here.

Nurses have told her they might leave the province if that happens, she said.

King said both of those issues bother her.

"They want to bring in people with less experience and less education and pay them more than they pay me," she said.

She added that many nurses who lift and move patients constantly are at high risk of injury. That means there could be a lot of them affected if the employer was allowed to cut their jobs if they were away from work for too long.

"People don't want to come here. They laugh. To make less money and get fired if you're hurt on the job?" she said.

Tamara Biehn, a nurse at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital, is disappointed the situation has come to a strike vote.

"I feel a little manipulated. I think, nurses, we work pretty hard, and a lot of time we're fighting for our patients. Every shift, all day long, we're working for our patients' best interest, and I don't think we should have to come here and fight just so that we could have a good quality of life and a good quality of work life."

Forward said she still hopes to get to the negotiating table with the province, but comments from Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy last week in-dicating the province would legislate nurses back to work and impose a contract hinders the process.

"It takes away the whole right that we have as nurses to collective bargaining," she said.

"If that's government's path, then we will take this government to court, there's no question about that, and we believe we will win."

Nurse Sheri Noseworthy said she just wants the problems in health care fixed.

"Health care, in general, is in a complete state," she said.

emclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: St. John's hotel, Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses, Mercy Hospital

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Don from ST JOHNS,writes: Stick your guns Jerome and Danny. Pattern bargaining is the only way to go to be fair to everyone.
    Not Everyone: how about Williams' staff, the police, the judges, the doctors, the pilots,etc...................... they did not follow the PATTERN! Was that fair?

  • L
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Has it gotten so petty that you have to start complaining about the clothes the nurses are wearing? Can we do nothing right?

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Christ from NL, at no where in my message did I state that NL nurses were getting extra bonuses . I said, raises/bonuses received that will be based on personal performance reviews. From your comments, it sounds like these very much so do exist ...take a look at what you wrote, my friend...

    Our pay scale is based on 7 steps. once you get to step 7 after 7 years there are no more bonus/raises no matter how many tears you work as a nurse on the floor, if you should go to another classification such as teaching, team leader and so on you get a raise and that does not change from year to year with performances bonus.We have no such thing.

    How do people go other classifications, like team leader, Chris? After reviews of personal performance, of course. So yes, NL nurses do get raises based on personal performance - they have just built them into a promotion/performance system, so you get the raise when you get re-classified. That is no different than mine or most other public sector workers.

  • steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    to picket the nurses get a job

  • chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Jon that was explained last night on the news but it is because of our geography basically.

  • Funky
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Dave...there is a whole world outside of St. John's. You should check it out sometime. In many of the hospitals around the province, OT isn't a sport, it's a necessity. 16 and 20 hour days are very common in many areas becasue of the lack of nurses caused by the lack of attraction strategies and willingness to ante up to keep nurses in the province. Would you want a nurse helping you that has been running around for 16 hours non-stop? And in many areas of the province, the nurses basically run the hospitals because of the lack of doctors.

    To Tired...it's called news. Are you saying the media should ignore important news stories that have been going on for a long time and only focus on fluffy-nutty stories? Ahh, who cares if our medical system is going down the crapper, our province is turning into a dictatorship, thousands of people are out of work...I want to read a story about kittens.

  • speedy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Darrell, she is not in need of more money she needs a life and to get that she needs to see more nurses hired and to get that the nurses need a government that cares about health and to get that we need a new Premier and Minister of health.

  • CW
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    I was surprised to learn that nurses arent terminated after 2 years of absences from their jobs. This policy has been in force in the Federal Public Service for years, and the policy has been supported and upheld by the courts. The courts have agreed that the employer has to have the flexibility to manage its workforce.

    Why hasnt the nurses union revealed how many people would be affected by this policy? How many of the 1000 vacant positions are vacant because of sick or injured nurses? How many of the 1000 vacant positions cannot be filled on a permanent basis due to the very fact that the position is currently held by someone on leave who in all probability will never return to the workplace?

    The current policy of remaining an employee while on long term extended leave is akin to employment for life, regardless of whether you are actually working or not. The nurse on leave continues to receive all benefits and entitlements as a nurse working - benefits that cost the taxpayers of the province. The nurse also continues to pay union dues also.

    I have to wonder whether the status quo actually negatively affects recruitment and retention issues? Come on Ms. Forward, share with us the numbers. How many nurses are off on long term sick leave?

  • Neil
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Personally, I think the nurses should pull a Danny tactic. RESIGN Let the chips fall were they may. Maybe Danny and Jerome can help out when they all walk off the job. Just imagine Danny and Jerome going around Health Sciences or St Clares with a bed pan in each hand. When the dust settles they can bring the pans back to Confed Bldg. I am sure they can be used in there with the crap that comes out of that place daily.

  • apples
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    I'd have no problem giving the nurses 16% for 2 years... even 20%... as long as it was based on performance. There are lots of good nurses out there but a lot of lazy/useless ones as well. Unions reward the lazy ones and penalize the good ones.

  • Darrell
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Tamara, the nurse in the picture above, is dressed kind of nice isn't she. Doesn't look like someone in need of more money.

  • another RN
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Darrell not everyone dresses as if they had just gotten out of prison son.

  • Bernard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Tammy, you look as good in picture as you do in person. Miss your attention (and others) at my bedside. You have as much backbone. as you do pride in your profession. All the best in the future.

    An appreciative patient.

  • Avalon Observer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Darrell: Are you the guy with 2 brothers, Darrell and Darrell?

  • RN78
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Maybe Mr Williams and kennedy will take note, that there is a problem in nursing and health care. The NLNU has been saying there's been a problem for years but none of these men were will to listen. Maybe now?

  • Dan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    To Neil.....the nurses haven't got the guts to do that because they know that there are equal number of casuals ready to take their spot.....and gladly with a 20% raise.

  • Harris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    The people of NF just don't get it! Why would anyone in Health care want to stay or come to NF when the Government you elect, you the people, don't value Health Care or it's workers and even with a 16% increase, doesn't bring nurses salary's on par with the rest of Canada. Just because most people repyling here that don't support Healthcare and did never get an education and enable themselves to make a decent salary, DON'T revolt against the educated and thier opportunities. Nurses should resign, get out of the province and let's see how Health Care works then. IGNORANCE IS BLISS!! AND WE WONDER WHY WE HAVE NF JOKES!!
    WAKE UP NF!

  • chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Don and CW would the two you you reach to catch a falling pt with the potential to hurt your back for life and probably be off work for a couple of years between surgery and physio and just waiting for the surgery then after to be fired and the employer say to you get lost we will get someone else to do your job now.

    I don't think you would reach for the patient you let him /her hit the floor rather than ruin yourself for life.

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I cannot believe that they are asking for 16% over two years! That is a huge increase. Remember, that is just the across-the-board raise that all nurses will get, regardless of personal performance. That is not factoring in individual rasies/bonuses recieved that will be based on personal performance reviews.

    I work in the public secotor, I am a part fo a union, and I know that works.

  • Dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I agree somewhat with tired from NL. I'm been throughout the hospital system and the Nurses are compassionate and they do care. Of the six times I've been at the HCC there were nurses everywhere. Over one period, I watched one nurse play solitaire while I waited to get a glass of ice for my dad and then a half hour later, she was still playing while others were gabbing. There's more going on here than the public realizes. OT seems to be a sport within the system.

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Stick your guns Jerome and Danny. Pattern bargaining is the only way to go to be fair to everyone. There's shortages everywhere you look, not just in nursing.

  • T
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    I think nurses are asking for too much. Why should they get a 2 yr contract, when nobody else gets one? It appears that nurses think they are the most important profession in healthcare. What about the lab techs, x-ray techs, etc. Why should nurses get more than those people. I work in healthcare, and I have not witnessed nurses being overworked

    Nurses have to realize they are not the most important part of the healthcare team. They are an equal part of the team. And they should be treated no differently than the other parts of the team.

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    To CW - Those are interesting points, CW. It will be interesting to see if any nurses out there will either defend the policy - yes, it is okay to be absent from a job for two years and still hold it ... or denounce it - no, if you haven't worked in 24 months, maybe somebody else should get the position...because over-worked nurses really do need the back-up!)

  • Tired
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    To Graham from NL... are you the same Graham that keeps posting comments with dumb statements as Where is Ross NO CRISIS Wiseman ? It appears as if this is the only type of comment you can make and it's smeared all over the comments section of any article written about our health care system. That's what I would call dumb... talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Time to come up with some new material my friend.

  • Newfoundlander
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    To Darrell, so because someone has nice cloths or things, they shouldnt have good working conditions or get raises? Since when is someone's salary based on the nice things they may oe may not have. Basically if Tamara was dressed in rags, you would agree with a 24% raise? Something wrong with your thinking.

  • huh
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    someone said nurses should be happy to have a job. If you are out of work, there are help wanted signs everywhere. If you want to be a nurse and your high school marks were good you can apply to MUN or The Centre of Nursing Studies, it will take only five years of hard work and study and $60,000...then you too can work as a nurse in Newfoundland where there are presently 1,ooo jobs available. If you apply now, by the time you graduate in May 2014, there will be at least 1500 vacancies. In 2017 you can have my job. You will also need caller ID but you will not need an alarm clock because you will become so conditioned to the phone ringing at 6 AM every morning that you will never sleep past that point again. You will not see your family at Christmas any more and forget your children's school concerts and other special occasions.
    You will have a job, you will go to work even when weather conditions are too severe for snow clearing equipment. You will need a chiropractor and massage therapist. You will suffer verbal and physical abuse daily. You will be exposed to contagious diseases daily. You will learn to go without meals for a 13 hour stretch and you will be amazed at how your bladder will adjust to work days without a bathroom break. You will be the first person at the scene to diagnose and treat your patients but will never receive the respect that other professionals receive. Your heart will break when you don't have enough time to spend with a dying patient because you are running from crisis to crisis.
    When you speak out about the problems in healthcare your government will attempt to bully and intimidate you into silence but you will always have a job.
    There will always be jobs for nurses in newfoundland but there will never be respect, so nurses will continue to leave this province.
    If you are not a nurse you will never understand what we do everyday, you will never understand what it is to give so much of yourself everday and then be continually abused.

  • Jon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Can someone please explain why it will take six weeks to complete a strike vote?

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Tired from NL... maybe we're tired of dumb people with dumb comments like you.

    Darrell, it's a regular leather jacket. Maybe she couldn't afford a winter jacket to wear in February. Think b'y, think. Or go back to bed out of it.

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Can anyone tell me where Health Minister Ross NO CRISIS Wiseman is? We havent heard a word from him in weeks. Danny and his clone Jerome are doing all the talking. This is your department Mr Wiseman it is in CRISIS and it all starts in your office. Perhaps Danny wont let you speak. Then again when you do speak you rant off for 10 minutes and say nothing as usual. No wondder he keeps you in Cabinet.

  • chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Mark from Ontario- I think you need to get your facts straight because you do not have a clue what you are talking about .I have a nurse for going on 20 years and have never seen a nurse including my self get any extra bonus/raises from performance .

    Our pay scale is based on 7 steps. once yo get to step 7 after 7 years there are no more bonus/raises no matter how many tears you work as a nurse on the floor, if you should go to another classification such as teaching, team leader and so on you get a raise and that does not change from year to year with performances bonus.We have no such thing.

    We have issues with regards to clauses they want to put into the contract that are not conducive to recruiting nurses to this province . We have an issues here of supply and demand , basic economics, if there is a high demand for a certain profession and only small numbers in that profession then value has to go up to retain these professionals.

    But still it is not all about money there is quality of life. When I first went to work at the facility I am in now most people took A/L in summer time so it was harder to fill those positions during that time and management would say can't you take your A/L in the off season. Now we can't even get A/L in the dead of winter . We have a right to some quality of life no different than anyone else.

  • Picket
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I think that the people that are out of work, have family or friends in hospital should be out on the picket line at these votes. Show the nurses that they are lucky to have a choice, have a job. See what the people that pay thier wages have to say about all this when many have lost jobs, homes and familes.

    Picket the Nurses!!

  • Doug
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I'll state up front that I think nurses deserve a raise. They're far more valuable than the duds in NAPE, CUPE etc. who have been given raises already.

    That being said, how can Debbie Forward and the nurses keep claiming that it isn't about money when every second statement them make refers to money? One of their new complaints is the issue of having new nurses paid more than those already here. Well, if the main issue really was workloads and the nursing shortage, they shouldn't really care about how much someone else is getting paid just as long as more are being hired.

    I think anyone would have a problem with seeing someone else get paid more for doing the same job and that is fine. However, don't keep giving us the same line of how it isn't about the money when in fact, the whole thing is all about money. It's the exact same story with doctors - they talk about workloads and needing more resources etc. and yet once the next big raise is rolled out (and still no new doctors are brought in) all turn silent once again. I'm not begrudging anyone their money, just stop being a hypocite about it.

  • William
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    5000 nurse's in the province, so if everybody struck sick at once(heaven forbid) that would be 1 nurse for every 100 sick, thats a busy night for someone.
    Now lets say that for example that 3 of those are taken away from nursing duties to do manager, housecleaning or running specimens to the lab, now that same nurse has 400 patients, deplorable standards.
    Now lets say some of those nurses that are on duty are pulling a double shift, quiet a provincial standard, not a legacy anyone wants.

  • w
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    To Doug : Everyone who works in health care is valuable , no matter if they are a nurse , housekeeping , maintenance or lab and xray. Would you like to walk into a family member's room and see garbage piled to the ceiling , dirty floors and dirty bathrooms. How about the workers who sterilize all the surgical instruments...according to you they are not that valuable...so when you come down with an infection from an unclean instrument don't complain about it. Oops got a broken leg...elevators are not working....No maintenance to fix them...guess you have to take the stairs. Anyone remember when lab and xray had the illegal strike 7-8 years ago....practically shut the hospitals down because doctors and nurses couldn't do anything without diagnostic tests. With nurses being over worked now , imagine where they would be if all those less valuable staff up and quit. Probably emptying garbages and cleaning toilets as they wouldn't have any patients to look after as the hospital would be shut down.

  • FYI DOUG
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    I'd just like to let DOUG know, that the people represented by NAPE, CUPE, Allied Health etc. are the very people that provide diagnostic services (LAB and X-Ray) as well as various treatments, rehabilitation services, social services, housekeeping, maintainence, laundry and kitchen services....the list goes on.........we are not nurses, but I'd like to see healthcare run without US. One group alone cannot be the back bone of healthcare , we need all groups working together, and to try and say nurses are more important and deserving than anyone else is very naive.

  • Tired
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Does anyone outside the nurses and their immediate families care about these issues anymore? I didn't even bother to read this article as I have heard and read enough about the ongoing dispute between nurses and government. If a news story comes on the radio about the nursing dispute, I quickly change the station. There has to be other news out there that the media can report on. Here's a unique idea - try finding a feel good story and report on that!

  • teamplayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I beg your pardon Doug and the nurses that think like you. The 'etc' in your little comment includes the Association of Allied Health Professionals, a group that includes pharmacists, physio, occupational therapy, dietitians, speech language pathologists, and social workers to name a few. Hardly a group of 'duds , and CUPE and NAPE aren't duds either, we all play an equally valuable role. Would you say the engine of a car is the only important part, or do the tires, steering wheel, and brakes also play an important part!!! The system depends on all roles being fulfilled, that makes them all equally valuable.

  • JK
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Never mind the nurses....I want my beer!! Should this vote not be the top story in the paper?

  • Mary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Crisis, what crisis? Yeah, I guess its only a crisis if you actually need health care or you work in the area. Otherwise you can ignore the problem, read the comics, and keep voting for Danny. Don't worry, be happy - that works until you have a problem. Oh, then its too late. Duh!

  • andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Don from ST JOHNS,writes: Stick your guns Jerome and Danny. Pattern bargaining is the only way to go to be fair to everyone.
    Not Everyone: how about Williams' staff, the police, the judges, the doctors, the pilots,etc...................... they did not follow the PATTERN! Was that fair?

  • L
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Has it gotten so petty that you have to start complaining about the clothes the nurses are wearing? Can we do nothing right?

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Christ from NL, at no where in my message did I state that NL nurses were getting extra bonuses . I said, raises/bonuses received that will be based on personal performance reviews. From your comments, it sounds like these very much so do exist ...take a look at what you wrote, my friend...

    Our pay scale is based on 7 steps. once you get to step 7 after 7 years there are no more bonus/raises no matter how many tears you work as a nurse on the floor, if you should go to another classification such as teaching, team leader and so on you get a raise and that does not change from year to year with performances bonus.We have no such thing.

    How do people go other classifications, like team leader, Chris? After reviews of personal performance, of course. So yes, NL nurses do get raises based on personal performance - they have just built them into a promotion/performance system, so you get the raise when you get re-classified. That is no different than mine or most other public sector workers.

  • steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    to picket the nurses get a job

  • chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Jon that was explained last night on the news but it is because of our geography basically.

  • Funky
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Dave...there is a whole world outside of St. John's. You should check it out sometime. In many of the hospitals around the province, OT isn't a sport, it's a necessity. 16 and 20 hour days are very common in many areas becasue of the lack of nurses caused by the lack of attraction strategies and willingness to ante up to keep nurses in the province. Would you want a nurse helping you that has been running around for 16 hours non-stop? And in many areas of the province, the nurses basically run the hospitals because of the lack of doctors.

    To Tired...it's called news. Are you saying the media should ignore important news stories that have been going on for a long time and only focus on fluffy-nutty stories? Ahh, who cares if our medical system is going down the crapper, our province is turning into a dictatorship, thousands of people are out of work...I want to read a story about kittens.

  • speedy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Darrell, she is not in need of more money she needs a life and to get that she needs to see more nurses hired and to get that the nurses need a government that cares about health and to get that we need a new Premier and Minister of health.

  • CW
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    I was surprised to learn that nurses arent terminated after 2 years of absences from their jobs. This policy has been in force in the Federal Public Service for years, and the policy has been supported and upheld by the courts. The courts have agreed that the employer has to have the flexibility to manage its workforce.

    Why hasnt the nurses union revealed how many people would be affected by this policy? How many of the 1000 vacant positions are vacant because of sick or injured nurses? How many of the 1000 vacant positions cannot be filled on a permanent basis due to the very fact that the position is currently held by someone on leave who in all probability will never return to the workplace?

    The current policy of remaining an employee while on long term extended leave is akin to employment for life, regardless of whether you are actually working or not. The nurse on leave continues to receive all benefits and entitlements as a nurse working - benefits that cost the taxpayers of the province. The nurse also continues to pay union dues also.

    I have to wonder whether the status quo actually negatively affects recruitment and retention issues? Come on Ms. Forward, share with us the numbers. How many nurses are off on long term sick leave?

  • Neil
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Personally, I think the nurses should pull a Danny tactic. RESIGN Let the chips fall were they may. Maybe Danny and Jerome can help out when they all walk off the job. Just imagine Danny and Jerome going around Health Sciences or St Clares with a bed pan in each hand. When the dust settles they can bring the pans back to Confed Bldg. I am sure they can be used in there with the crap that comes out of that place daily.

  • apples
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    I'd have no problem giving the nurses 16% for 2 years... even 20%... as long as it was based on performance. There are lots of good nurses out there but a lot of lazy/useless ones as well. Unions reward the lazy ones and penalize the good ones.

  • Darrell
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Tamara, the nurse in the picture above, is dressed kind of nice isn't she. Doesn't look like someone in need of more money.

  • another RN
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Darrell not everyone dresses as if they had just gotten out of prison son.

  • Bernard
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Tammy, you look as good in picture as you do in person. Miss your attention (and others) at my bedside. You have as much backbone. as you do pride in your profession. All the best in the future.

    An appreciative patient.

  • Avalon Observer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Darrell: Are you the guy with 2 brothers, Darrell and Darrell?

  • RN78
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Maybe Mr Williams and kennedy will take note, that there is a problem in nursing and health care. The NLNU has been saying there's been a problem for years but none of these men were will to listen. Maybe now?

  • Dan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    To Neil.....the nurses haven't got the guts to do that because they know that there are equal number of casuals ready to take their spot.....and gladly with a 20% raise.

  • Harris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    The people of NF just don't get it! Why would anyone in Health care want to stay or come to NF when the Government you elect, you the people, don't value Health Care or it's workers and even with a 16% increase, doesn't bring nurses salary's on par with the rest of Canada. Just because most people repyling here that don't support Healthcare and did never get an education and enable themselves to make a decent salary, DON'T revolt against the educated and thier opportunities. Nurses should resign, get out of the province and let's see how Health Care works then. IGNORANCE IS BLISS!! AND WE WONDER WHY WE HAVE NF JOKES!!
    WAKE UP NF!

  • chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Don and CW would the two you you reach to catch a falling pt with the potential to hurt your back for life and probably be off work for a couple of years between surgery and physio and just waiting for the surgery then after to be fired and the employer say to you get lost we will get someone else to do your job now.

    I don't think you would reach for the patient you let him /her hit the floor rather than ruin yourself for life.

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    I cannot believe that they are asking for 16% over two years! That is a huge increase. Remember, that is just the across-the-board raise that all nurses will get, regardless of personal performance. That is not factoring in individual rasies/bonuses recieved that will be based on personal performance reviews.

    I work in the public secotor, I am a part fo a union, and I know that works.

  • Dave
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I agree somewhat with tired from NL. I'm been throughout the hospital system and the Nurses are compassionate and they do care. Of the six times I've been at the HCC there were nurses everywhere. Over one period, I watched one nurse play solitaire while I waited to get a glass of ice for my dad and then a half hour later, she was still playing while others were gabbing. There's more going on here than the public realizes. OT seems to be a sport within the system.

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Stick your guns Jerome and Danny. Pattern bargaining is the only way to go to be fair to everyone. There's shortages everywhere you look, not just in nursing.

  • T
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    I think nurses are asking for too much. Why should they get a 2 yr contract, when nobody else gets one? It appears that nurses think they are the most important profession in healthcare. What about the lab techs, x-ray techs, etc. Why should nurses get more than those people. I work in healthcare, and I have not witnessed nurses being overworked

    Nurses have to realize they are not the most important part of the healthcare team. They are an equal part of the team. And they should be treated no differently than the other parts of the team.

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    To CW - Those are interesting points, CW. It will be interesting to see if any nurses out there will either defend the policy - yes, it is okay to be absent from a job for two years and still hold it ... or denounce it - no, if you haven't worked in 24 months, maybe somebody else should get the position...because over-worked nurses really do need the back-up!)

  • Tired
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    To Graham from NL... are you the same Graham that keeps posting comments with dumb statements as Where is Ross NO CRISIS Wiseman ? It appears as if this is the only type of comment you can make and it's smeared all over the comments section of any article written about our health care system. That's what I would call dumb... talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Time to come up with some new material my friend.

  • Newfoundlander
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    To Darrell, so because someone has nice cloths or things, they shouldnt have good working conditions or get raises? Since when is someone's salary based on the nice things they may oe may not have. Basically if Tamara was dressed in rags, you would agree with a 24% raise? Something wrong with your thinking.

  • huh
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    someone said nurses should be happy to have a job. If you are out of work, there are help wanted signs everywhere. If you want to be a nurse and your high school marks were good you can apply to MUN or The Centre of Nursing Studies, it will take only five years of hard work and study and $60,000...then you too can work as a nurse in Newfoundland where there are presently 1,ooo jobs available. If you apply now, by the time you graduate in May 2014, there will be at least 1500 vacancies. In 2017 you can have my job. You will also need caller ID but you will not need an alarm clock because you will become so conditioned to the phone ringing at 6 AM every morning that you will never sleep past that point again. You will not see your family at Christmas any more and forget your children's school concerts and other special occasions.
    You will have a job, you will go to work even when weather conditions are too severe for snow clearing equipment. You will need a chiropractor and massage therapist. You will suffer verbal and physical abuse daily. You will be exposed to contagious diseases daily. You will learn to go without meals for a 13 hour stretch and you will be amazed at how your bladder will adjust to work days without a bathroom break. You will be the first person at the scene to diagnose and treat your patients but will never receive the respect that other professionals receive. Your heart will break when you don't have enough time to spend with a dying patient because you are running from crisis to crisis.
    When you speak out about the problems in healthcare your government will attempt to bully and intimidate you into silence but you will always have a job.
    There will always be jobs for nurses in newfoundland but there will never be respect, so nurses will continue to leave this province.
    If you are not a nurse you will never understand what we do everyday, you will never understand what it is to give so much of yourself everday and then be continually abused.

  • Jon
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Can someone please explain why it will take six weeks to complete a strike vote?

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Tired from NL... maybe we're tired of dumb people with dumb comments like you.

    Darrell, it's a regular leather jacket. Maybe she couldn't afford a winter jacket to wear in February. Think b'y, think. Or go back to bed out of it.

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Can anyone tell me where Health Minister Ross NO CRISIS Wiseman is? We havent heard a word from him in weeks. Danny and his clone Jerome are doing all the talking. This is your department Mr Wiseman it is in CRISIS and it all starts in your office. Perhaps Danny wont let you speak. Then again when you do speak you rant off for 10 minutes and say nothing as usual. No wondder he keeps you in Cabinet.

  • chris
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Mark from Ontario- I think you need to get your facts straight because you do not have a clue what you are talking about .I have a nurse for going on 20 years and have never seen a nurse including my self get any extra bonus/raises from performance .

    Our pay scale is based on 7 steps. once yo get to step 7 after 7 years there are no more bonus/raises no matter how many tears you work as a nurse on the floor, if you should go to another classification such as teaching, team leader and so on you get a raise and that does not change from year to year with performances bonus.We have no such thing.

    We have issues with regards to clauses they want to put into the contract that are not conducive to recruiting nurses to this province . We have an issues here of supply and demand , basic economics, if there is a high demand for a certain profession and only small numbers in that profession then value has to go up to retain these professionals.

    But still it is not all about money there is quality of life. When I first went to work at the facility I am in now most people took A/L in summer time so it was harder to fill those positions during that time and management would say can't you take your A/L in the off season. Now we can't even get A/L in the dead of winter . We have a right to some quality of life no different than anyone else.

  • Picket
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    I think that the people that are out of work, have family or friends in hospital should be out on the picket line at these votes. Show the nurses that they are lucky to have a choice, have a job. See what the people that pay thier wages have to say about all this when many have lost jobs, homes and familes.

    Picket the Nurses!!

  • Doug
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    I'll state up front that I think nurses deserve a raise. They're far more valuable than the duds in NAPE, CUPE etc. who have been given raises already.

    That being said, how can Debbie Forward and the nurses keep claiming that it isn't about money when every second statement them make refers to money? One of their new complaints is the issue of having new nurses paid more than those already here. Well, if the main issue really was workloads and the nursing shortage, they shouldn't really care about how much someone else is getting paid just as long as more are being hired.

    I think anyone would have a problem with seeing someone else get paid more for doing the same job and that is fine. However, don't keep giving us the same line of how it isn't about the money when in fact, the whole thing is all about money. It's the exact same story with doctors - they talk about workloads and needing more resources etc. and yet once the next big raise is rolled out (and still no new doctors are brought in) all turn silent once again. I'm not begrudging anyone their money, just stop being a hypocite about it.

  • William
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    5000 nurse's in the province, so if everybody struck sick at once(heaven forbid) that would be 1 nurse for every 100 sick, thats a busy night for someone.
    Now lets say that for example that 3 of those are taken away from nursing duties to do manager, housecleaning or running specimens to the lab, now that same nurse has 400 patients, deplorable standards.
    Now lets say some of those nurses that are on duty are pulling a double shift, quiet a provincial standard, not a legacy anyone wants.

  • w
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    To Doug : Everyone who works in health care is valuable , no matter if they are a nurse , housekeeping , maintenance or lab and xray. Would you like to walk into a family member's room and see garbage piled to the ceiling , dirty floors and dirty bathrooms. How about the workers who sterilize all the surgical instruments...according to you they are not that valuable...so when you come down with an infection from an unclean instrument don't complain about it. Oops got a broken leg...elevators are not working....No maintenance to fix them...guess you have to take the stairs. Anyone remember when lab and xray had the illegal strike 7-8 years ago....practically shut the hospitals down because doctors and nurses couldn't do anything without diagnostic tests. With nurses being over worked now , imagine where they would be if all those less valuable staff up and quit. Probably emptying garbages and cleaning toilets as they wouldn't have any patients to look after as the hospital would be shut down.

  • FYI DOUG
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    I'd just like to let DOUG know, that the people represented by NAPE, CUPE, Allied Health etc. are the very people that provide diagnostic services (LAB and X-Ray) as well as various treatments, rehabilitation services, social services, housekeeping, maintainence, laundry and kitchen services....the list goes on.........we are not nurses, but I'd like to see healthcare run without US. One group alone cannot be the back bone of healthcare , we need all groups working together, and to try and say nurses are more important and deserving than anyone else is very naive.

  • Tired
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Does anyone outside the nurses and their immediate families care about these issues anymore? I didn't even bother to read this article as I have heard and read enough about the ongoing dispute between nurses and government. If a news story comes on the radio about the nursing dispute, I quickly change the station. There has to be other news out there that the media can report on. Here's a unique idea - try finding a feel good story and report on that!

  • teamplayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    I beg your pardon Doug and the nurses that think like you. The 'etc' in your little comment includes the Association of Allied Health Professionals, a group that includes pharmacists, physio, occupational therapy, dietitians, speech language pathologists, and social workers to name a few. Hardly a group of 'duds , and CUPE and NAPE aren't duds either, we all play an equally valuable role. Would you say the engine of a car is the only important part, or do the tires, steering wheel, and brakes also play an important part!!! The system depends on all roles being fulfilled, that makes them all equally valuable.

  • JK
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Never mind the nurses....I want my beer!! Should this vote not be the top story in the paper?

  • Mary
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Crisis, what crisis? Yeah, I guess its only a crisis if you actually need health care or you work in the area. Otherwise you can ignore the problem, read the comics, and keep voting for Danny. Don't worry, be happy - that works until you have a problem. Oh, then its too late. Duh!