Unions say potential deficit no excuse

Nadya Bell
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NAPE expects agreement soon; Nurses continuing the fight

Union leaders still in contract negotiations with the government say Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy's Dec. 31 deadline to accept a 20 per cent pay increase over four years won't really change their negotiating strategy.

In a fiscal update Tuesday, Kennedy said the government couldn't guarantee that the offer would still be available in the new year, although the eight per cent increase in the first year will hold if they sign a four-year deal.

Nurses' union president Debbie Forward responds to the province's fiscal update in St. John's Tuesday.- Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Union leaders still in contract negotiations with the government say Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy's Dec. 31 deadline to accept a 20 per cent pay increase over four years won't really change their negotiating strategy.

In a fiscal update Tuesday, Kennedy said the government couldn't guarantee that the offer would still be available in the new year, although the eight per cent increase in the first year will hold if they sign a four-year deal.

Debbie Forward, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union said developments in the province's financial situation don't change the crisis in health care.

"When we entered this round of negotiations, our priority was around addressing the nursing shortage and we have not seen anything from government in terms of their plans to do so," Forward said.

"The price of oil does not change the fact that we're short 1,017 nurses in the province, it doesn't change the fact that we're anticipating over 1,200 retirements in the next five to six years, that we're only keeping 60 to 70 per cent of our new graduates, and that every day health care is being impacted in the province because there is not enough nurses," she said.

Forward said the union has heard the government claim the pay-raise deal has an expiry date several times in recent months, most recently in a private letter to the union last Friday.

The union will reply to the letter, but Forward would not give details about what its response will be.

"We felt, ever since we started this round of negotiations, that we weren't able to discuss the real issues," she said.

"If Minister Kennedy is concerned about the financial situation of the province then I think maybe a two-year agreement might be in the province's best interests as well as the health-care system's best interests," she said.

Carol Furlong, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) says the fiscal update doesn't change their bargaining situation, as they are in the process of tabling a proposal in negotiations this week.

"We believe government should feel it is an acceptable proposal from us and hopefully we will be able to then reach a collective agreement," Furlong says.

Furlong said the government's billion-dollar surplus this year and upcoming projects shows that they are not experiencing any extreme financial difficulties, and she is surprised that they are still seeking concessions from the unions.

"It defies all logic that, in this era now, they are seeking concessions from public employees with language that has been in the NAPE collective agreement for decades, and that's language that protects jobs of injured workers. Now government wants to remove that and terminate employees who are on extended earnings loss for two years," Furlong says.

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) reached four-year agreements in April that give workers an eight per cent raise in the first year and a four per cent raise in each of the following years.

nbell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, Union of Public Employees CUPE

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  • tommietoe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    methinks Ms. Forward is a bit too forward...she is begining to sound like Ms Joanie Burke.

  • ron
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    AS A UNION MEMBER WHO WORKED FOR A LARGE COMPANY A 20% WAGE
    INCREASE IS UNHEARD OFF.IT WOULD TAKE US AT LEAST 3 DIFFERENT CONTRACTS TO GAIN THAT MUCH OR
    LESS.I THINK THEY ARE UNREALISTIC
    IN THEIR DEMANDS WANTING 24% IN
    ONE CONTRACT.

  • M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Mr Kennedy there better keep a good chunk of that money for any lawsuits the HealthCare might be hit with, because unsafe working conditions are just NOT being addressed by this government. This government is also QUITE aware of those unsafe working conditions, as outlined in various letters sent to the government. Wonder who'll have the gumption to even ATTEMPT saying I was not aware of that. in the next Inquiry, in the hopes it can't be proven as an outright lie? Faint hope!!
    As for nurses being out on the streets,on a picket line, it'd be much better to just quit and have done with all this bullying from this government. Better no contract, than a bad contract, and even better again, better to walk away from this place.
    Can't run a hospital without nurses, if that hospital values it's accredited status....if they could, Central Health would have opened it's paediatric ward. Reason WHY Central can't open that ward safely? No nurses. Who's NEXT to close, because of no nurses ? HMMMM?

  • william
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    [quote]Now government wants to remove that and terminate employees who are on extended earnings loss for two years, Furlong says.[/quote]
    How long do you think they should be kept on, after not working for 2 years and still being paid, tho reduced. If an injured worker can't return to work after 2 years its time seek out other options, and let the company of the hook.

  • Timboy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    If I were any of the unions I'd take the deal now because believe me this selfish government is going to blow the surplus on the debt and we'll all be in out migration mode come March '09. As usual another Tobin like government out of touch with the common blue collar NL'er

  • JIM
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Under this arrogant, dictorial regime with Danny and his side-kick Kennedy, Lone Ranger and Tonto, nurses may have to accept 20% although they deserve more, and all their arguments are valid. The Gov't is not willing to address shortages; health care will erode as new nurses leave. This Gov't will not bend. Power has infected their souls; pomposity infected their minds. I'm with the nurses, but in a DICTATORSHIP, one must walk carefully. If Danny carried a side-arm when he wobbles to a House mike, he'd be a George Bush clone. Stick em up!

  • Look around you!
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Time for those wanting MORE to take a long hard look around. The world economies are in free fall. nobody seems to know where the bottom is. People are losing their retirement nest egg. Businesses are closing their doors, people are losing their employment. The price of oil is dropping. commodity prices are dropping. All of this means that the government coffers will be in poor shape after this year.

    Debbie Forward obviously is only concerned about one thing. She has her members worked into a frenzy, she doesn't give a rats derriere about the rest of us working stiffs.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't blame Forward, it's her job to get as much as she can for her nurses. But I would be dam upset if government gave into her demands.

  • willow
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    I don't believe the issue for NAPE is the 20%. I think most members would accept that gladly. The issue is job protection for an injured or sick worker. The GOVT and NAPE already fought over this in the court and NAPE won. I don't understand why Danny is trying to get the union to concede on this.

  • Jim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Nurses deserve more than 20% but under the present dictorial regime-DANNY and JEROME-thay may have to take it, and initiate a strong political action. Young nurses will continue to leave, and health care will deterioate. That's a fact! This gov't imposes wages and conditions. If Daddy had a side-arm when he wobbles to the House mikes, he'd be a clone of George Bush who walks the same way. Cowboys about to have a showdown with nurses and teachers. Think it through nutrses, but I'm on your side.

  • mortified nurse
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I am a new graduate nurse working fulltime (and a BUNCH of overtime). I am honestly embarrassed to be represented by Debbie Forward. I wish we could just take the 20% we are being offered. It's awful for me to admit it, but I'm sick of hearing about this, and I'm sick of Ms Forward weakening our public support.

  • Ted
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I think the all public union should take the 20% now. People all over Canada and the States are losing their jobs at an alarming rate as a result of the global economic downturn. Getting an offer of 20%, while the rest of the continent is happy just to keep a job, is looking the proverbial gift-horse in the mouth. Newfoundland is not insulated against this, as we have just seen one paper mill shut down and Corner Brook's is on borrowed time. Given this, public support for a 20%+ hike is quickly waning. If they go on strike, they'll squander any wage gains anyway, putting them back at square one. Take the 20% while it's still there for the taking.

    As for the nurses... If the gov't can't give them the pay hike they're looking for , then they should at least hire more of them so existing ones can get workload relief.

  • peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    The leader of the RN's is playing her cards shrewdly. Not much point, collectively, to get a 20 percent raise, then suffer a 20 percent recessionary lay off. Does NL need more nurses or not?

    But why bother with confederation bldg.?

    The salvation of the present government (and the Province? )is OIL, plain and simple. Why not skip the middle men and deal with Exxon-Mobil, Husky, Petro-Canada et. al. directly....they seem like nicer people.....

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    If it's not about the money, cut the proposed raise in half for current nurses, and use the other half to hire more nurses. Then see how long it would take to see if the real issue is a nursing shortage or money.

  • Oh please
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Anyone who calls our premier a dictator should do a little research on dictatorship. Dictators don't get elected, TWICE, with an 80% approval rating!!!! They also would not be involved in open negotiations with labour unions. Like Danny or not, I can't stand when uninformed people use the D word!

  • flexa
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I beg to differ there Debbie - a deficit that throws future generations further into debt and reverses our recent trend of debt reduction is the most legitimate excuse ever. It seems the only memberships not anxious over their unions to take the 8-4-4-4 is CUPE - oh yeah they are enjoying the extra pay on their checks this christmas season. Get off your high horse - just because the treasury dept has won the lottery this year doesn't mean everyone in the public sector should. That's why we are in the financial mess to begin with.

  • Jennifer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I keep seeing people comment that they should just hire more nurses and that would help with the shortage. There are NO MORE nurses! They are leaving this province for much better wages in other provinces. Here they are the lowest paid across the country. Bottom line is they need to be, at least, comparable to the rest of the country! Maybe then we can keep the ones we are training here, at home.

  • Max
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Get rid of Forward. She needs to go

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Nurses should take an example from the big 3 auto makers. For years the unions have negotiated lucrative contracts for its workers. We are now at the point where the automakers are paying exorbitant salaries for the simplest of labourers. This has crippled them to the point where they can no longer afford to design a reliable vehicle and it will inevitably lead to the end of the north american auto industry. I am in no way trying to compare the nurses to auto workers but I am saying that throwing ridiculous amounts of money to the nurses will have an affect somewhere else in the health care industry. Maybe the hospitals will have to lay off doctors and surgeons or not update vital equipment so they can employ nurses much the same way the big 3 had to lay off engineers and designers so they could employ someone to slap hub caps on a car. Just something to think about.
    It is about time that people and unions stop thinking with their hand out and start thinking about the future. If we spend every last cent that the government takes in on nurses salaries, eventually there will be no nurses shortage because the newfoundland population will shrink to a level low enough for the existing nurses to be able to manage. Here is a concept to think about Saving for a rainy day

  • Wonderin'
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Has anyone EVER seen the stats on exactly how many nurses do leave NL because of wages and conditions? I know several nurses who just left NL (like lots of other trades/professions) just for the sake of try life somewhere else? Ms.Forward is spinning it as a pressure tactic.

    If I were govt I would simply hire more staff and lower the raise. After all, they did say it's not ALL about the money!

    I think Ms.Forward's term is up!! She is seeming to cause more harm than good. She's like the dog with the bone! If the nurses end up on the street, then she should take the blame!

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    A 2 year deal is the best solution if you listen to teh Governments argument about fiscal uncertainty with the flucuatiing price of oil and the economic crisis .. But no one, not even government thinks we will post deficits for the next decade or so. It's oil we are talking about people, just as necessary to the modern public as oxygen. Not to mention the fact that OPEC manipulates the price. We are going to be well off for a long time. Negotiate a deal government.........your attitudes are wearing thin on this voter.

  • Eyes wide open
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Maybe one of these days I will retire and take a public service job so I can sit back, relax and avoid the real world.

    And you are insulted by my remarks?....lol.I fear you live in your own little world...nothing near the real world.Come work with me for just one day.I assure you sitting back and relaxing is something that doesn't exist.
    You make no comment on the contracts with 0% increases .No comment on fairly negotiated contracts that were signed one day, torn up and thrown away the next.No comment on ever increasing workloads with staff reductions.Did you even see what was written?Take off the blinders and try and see what real sacrifices the public sector has endured over the past 12 yrs.Even your premier recognizes that fact with his statements in the house of commons today.As for the 20% increase...we in the public sector are quite happy with the offer but not at the price of giving up benefits we have fought for in order to get it.Would you give up benefits for injured(probably from the ever increasing workloads with limited staff) workers for this raise? We don't feel it necessary to punish people who have given thier heart and soul to providing health care to the people of this province in order to have a few bucks on our paychecks.Maybe you would sell out your fellow injured co-workers for a raise but I assure you .....we won't.
    What bothers me most about your comments and those like you is the perception that the public sector always have thier hand out for unrealistic raises.As I have stated,look at the sacrifices that these people have made over the past 12 yrs.Wanting a fair contract tha doesn't sell out our fellow co-workers is not only reasonable but fair.We are not looking for hand outs ..as you stated and when in your estimation should we start thinking about our future? When our cheques have lost another 25% of its value over the next 12 yrs????? As I stated...your premier recognises this fact and agrees that we have sacrificed over these many yrs to do our part for the future ...why you can't defies all logic and reason.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I can't believe that a government is threatening people to accept a deal now or it's going to be off the table. HOW CHILDISH. Dictatorship is not what people deserve. It's not about % of increase, that is what most people bring up all the time, it's one of many many items in a collective agreement. People need to educate themselves before just harping on the 20%, pick on some of the hundreds of other items in negotiations.

  • edie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    NAPE needs to let its members vote on a proposal. Soon. Miss Furlong has dragged this out too long.

  • Joe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Debbie Forward continues with the cry that more money will address the nursing shortage. Perhaps she believes in Santa Claus also.

  • Santa Claus
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Nurses in other provinces may get paid more, but NL also has a much lower cost of living than those provinces. I think they should take the deal and shut it. The US economy is in a crisis and don't think it can't happen here in Canada. Be happy to have good paying jobs.

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    To Eyes Wide Open:

    Gee Andrew maybe we should work for nothin.But then again if we don't pay our ever increasing E.I. premiums how will you survive without your E.I cheque. I am kind of insulted at this statement considering I have been living and working continuously in St. John's for the last 15 years and have never once collected an EI cheque. I have never had a problem finding meaningful employment and am eternally grateful that I don't have someone like Debbie Forward looking out for my best interests. I am one of the hard working private sector employees that drive the economy and don't continually leech off of the government and the people. I would be very happy with a commitment of 20% over the next 4 years, but I live in the real world where I work hard and take what I can get. If I am not happy with my job, I can always look somewhere else.

    P.S. Maybe one of these days I will retire and take a public service job so I can sit back, relax and avoid the real world.

  • A
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I think its time to start making the Nurses will Remember license plates....

  • Celia
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Why not give everyone in this province a raise... and a 35% one at that, we're rich after all. We've been the poor province for decades. Now that we're rolling in the money, spend the works of it on raises. Who care's about the next generation, we had to go through hard times, they can stick it out too. If the government has to go into a defecit the next couple years, who cares, that's the government's problem. WHOOOOOOO WERE RICH!!!!!!! Give me, give me, give me... want, want, want!!!

  • Bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    The nurses; especially Debbie Forward don't care about anyone but themselves.
    Their motto is forget the economy we want more money.
    Regardless if we have a few extra bucks in the bank we should not dole it out to the nurses because they spit out their dummies.
    Premier Williams stick to your guns and if they don't take the current offer when the deadline arrives let them take a strike vote; lets see how right Debbie thinks she is....my money says they take it. All the nurses are not stupid just Debbie Forward and her hencemen.

  • william
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    The nurse's should take the 4 year deal, whats stopping the union to open bargaining after. She should also negotiate the difference to get more nurse's in the hospitals, get the nurse's to do nursing duties only, get the managers to do their jobs, housekeeping to do just that, and finally get rid of Ms Forward, this sounds like a win to me.

  • Eyes wide open
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Andrew states
    It is about time that people and unions stop thinking with their hand out and start thinking about the future

    Let me see.The public service has had to endure cutbacks,layoffs and contract offers in the past of 0-0-0 over 3 yrs.Had a mutually negotiated contract under Clyde Wells government torn up and thrown away just months into the settlement.Over the past 12 yrs contract offers in the range of 1-2% per yr with the inflation rate being in the 4% range.Went out on strike for some meaningful raise only to be legislated back to work and a contract rammed down our throats.Gee Andrew maybe we should work for nothin.But then again if we don't pay our ever increasing E.I. premiums how will you survive without your E.I cheque.Some people just don't have a clue.Frozen wages,miniscule raises,ever increasing workloads and we are being greedy by asking for some kind of fair wage increase? Pls give me a break.

  • R
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Right on Edie.....Come on Furlong let us NAPE members vote on this NOW so we can except it while the goings good. And let us get our Retro-Pay.

  • tommietoe
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    methinks Ms. Forward is a bit too forward...she is begining to sound like Ms Joanie Burke.

  • ron
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    AS A UNION MEMBER WHO WORKED FOR A LARGE COMPANY A 20% WAGE
    INCREASE IS UNHEARD OFF.IT WOULD TAKE US AT LEAST 3 DIFFERENT CONTRACTS TO GAIN THAT MUCH OR
    LESS.I THINK THEY ARE UNREALISTIC
    IN THEIR DEMANDS WANTING 24% IN
    ONE CONTRACT.

  • M
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Mr Kennedy there better keep a good chunk of that money for any lawsuits the HealthCare might be hit with, because unsafe working conditions are just NOT being addressed by this government. This government is also QUITE aware of those unsafe working conditions, as outlined in various letters sent to the government. Wonder who'll have the gumption to even ATTEMPT saying I was not aware of that. in the next Inquiry, in the hopes it can't be proven as an outright lie? Faint hope!!
    As for nurses being out on the streets,on a picket line, it'd be much better to just quit and have done with all this bullying from this government. Better no contract, than a bad contract, and even better again, better to walk away from this place.
    Can't run a hospital without nurses, if that hospital values it's accredited status....if they could, Central Health would have opened it's paediatric ward. Reason WHY Central can't open that ward safely? No nurses. Who's NEXT to close, because of no nurses ? HMMMM?

  • william
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    [quote]Now government wants to remove that and terminate employees who are on extended earnings loss for two years, Furlong says.[/quote]
    How long do you think they should be kept on, after not working for 2 years and still being paid, tho reduced. If an injured worker can't return to work after 2 years its time seek out other options, and let the company of the hook.

  • Timboy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    If I were any of the unions I'd take the deal now because believe me this selfish government is going to blow the surplus on the debt and we'll all be in out migration mode come March '09. As usual another Tobin like government out of touch with the common blue collar NL'er

  • JIM
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Under this arrogant, dictorial regime with Danny and his side-kick Kennedy, Lone Ranger and Tonto, nurses may have to accept 20% although they deserve more, and all their arguments are valid. The Gov't is not willing to address shortages; health care will erode as new nurses leave. This Gov't will not bend. Power has infected their souls; pomposity infected their minds. I'm with the nurses, but in a DICTATORSHIP, one must walk carefully. If Danny carried a side-arm when he wobbles to a House mike, he'd be a George Bush clone. Stick em up!

  • Look around you!
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Time for those wanting MORE to take a long hard look around. The world economies are in free fall. nobody seems to know where the bottom is. People are losing their retirement nest egg. Businesses are closing their doors, people are losing their employment. The price of oil is dropping. commodity prices are dropping. All of this means that the government coffers will be in poor shape after this year.

    Debbie Forward obviously is only concerned about one thing. She has her members worked into a frenzy, she doesn't give a rats derriere about the rest of us working stiffs.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't blame Forward, it's her job to get as much as she can for her nurses. But I would be dam upset if government gave into her demands.

  • willow
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    I don't believe the issue for NAPE is the 20%. I think most members would accept that gladly. The issue is job protection for an injured or sick worker. The GOVT and NAPE already fought over this in the court and NAPE won. I don't understand why Danny is trying to get the union to concede on this.

  • Jim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Nurses deserve more than 20% but under the present dictorial regime-DANNY and JEROME-thay may have to take it, and initiate a strong political action. Young nurses will continue to leave, and health care will deterioate. That's a fact! This gov't imposes wages and conditions. If Daddy had a side-arm when he wobbles to the House mikes, he'd be a clone of George Bush who walks the same way. Cowboys about to have a showdown with nurses and teachers. Think it through nutrses, but I'm on your side.

  • mortified nurse
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    I am a new graduate nurse working fulltime (and a BUNCH of overtime). I am honestly embarrassed to be represented by Debbie Forward. I wish we could just take the 20% we are being offered. It's awful for me to admit it, but I'm sick of hearing about this, and I'm sick of Ms Forward weakening our public support.

  • Ted
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    I think the all public union should take the 20% now. People all over Canada and the States are losing their jobs at an alarming rate as a result of the global economic downturn. Getting an offer of 20%, while the rest of the continent is happy just to keep a job, is looking the proverbial gift-horse in the mouth. Newfoundland is not insulated against this, as we have just seen one paper mill shut down and Corner Brook's is on borrowed time. Given this, public support for a 20%+ hike is quickly waning. If they go on strike, they'll squander any wage gains anyway, putting them back at square one. Take the 20% while it's still there for the taking.

    As for the nurses... If the gov't can't give them the pay hike they're looking for , then they should at least hire more of them so existing ones can get workload relief.

  • peter
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    The leader of the RN's is playing her cards shrewdly. Not much point, collectively, to get a 20 percent raise, then suffer a 20 percent recessionary lay off. Does NL need more nurses or not?

    But why bother with confederation bldg.?

    The salvation of the present government (and the Province? )is OIL, plain and simple. Why not skip the middle men and deal with Exxon-Mobil, Husky, Petro-Canada et. al. directly....they seem like nicer people.....

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    If it's not about the money, cut the proposed raise in half for current nurses, and use the other half to hire more nurses. Then see how long it would take to see if the real issue is a nursing shortage or money.

  • Oh please
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Anyone who calls our premier a dictator should do a little research on dictatorship. Dictators don't get elected, TWICE, with an 80% approval rating!!!! They also would not be involved in open negotiations with labour unions. Like Danny or not, I can't stand when uninformed people use the D word!

  • flexa
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    I beg to differ there Debbie - a deficit that throws future generations further into debt and reverses our recent trend of debt reduction is the most legitimate excuse ever. It seems the only memberships not anxious over their unions to take the 8-4-4-4 is CUPE - oh yeah they are enjoying the extra pay on their checks this christmas season. Get off your high horse - just because the treasury dept has won the lottery this year doesn't mean everyone in the public sector should. That's why we are in the financial mess to begin with.

  • Jennifer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    I keep seeing people comment that they should just hire more nurses and that would help with the shortage. There are NO MORE nurses! They are leaving this province for much better wages in other provinces. Here they are the lowest paid across the country. Bottom line is they need to be, at least, comparable to the rest of the country! Maybe then we can keep the ones we are training here, at home.

  • Max
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Get rid of Forward. She needs to go

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Nurses should take an example from the big 3 auto makers. For years the unions have negotiated lucrative contracts for its workers. We are now at the point where the automakers are paying exorbitant salaries for the simplest of labourers. This has crippled them to the point where they can no longer afford to design a reliable vehicle and it will inevitably lead to the end of the north american auto industry. I am in no way trying to compare the nurses to auto workers but I am saying that throwing ridiculous amounts of money to the nurses will have an affect somewhere else in the health care industry. Maybe the hospitals will have to lay off doctors and surgeons or not update vital equipment so they can employ nurses much the same way the big 3 had to lay off engineers and designers so they could employ someone to slap hub caps on a car. Just something to think about.
    It is about time that people and unions stop thinking with their hand out and start thinking about the future. If we spend every last cent that the government takes in on nurses salaries, eventually there will be no nurses shortage because the newfoundland population will shrink to a level low enough for the existing nurses to be able to manage. Here is a concept to think about Saving for a rainy day

  • Wonderin'
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Has anyone EVER seen the stats on exactly how many nurses do leave NL because of wages and conditions? I know several nurses who just left NL (like lots of other trades/professions) just for the sake of try life somewhere else? Ms.Forward is spinning it as a pressure tactic.

    If I were govt I would simply hire more staff and lower the raise. After all, they did say it's not ALL about the money!

    I think Ms.Forward's term is up!! She is seeming to cause more harm than good. She's like the dog with the bone! If the nurses end up on the street, then she should take the blame!

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    A 2 year deal is the best solution if you listen to teh Governments argument about fiscal uncertainty with the flucuatiing price of oil and the economic crisis .. But no one, not even government thinks we will post deficits for the next decade or so. It's oil we are talking about people, just as necessary to the modern public as oxygen. Not to mention the fact that OPEC manipulates the price. We are going to be well off for a long time. Negotiate a deal government.........your attitudes are wearing thin on this voter.

  • Eyes wide open
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Maybe one of these days I will retire and take a public service job so I can sit back, relax and avoid the real world.

    And you are insulted by my remarks?....lol.I fear you live in your own little world...nothing near the real world.Come work with me for just one day.I assure you sitting back and relaxing is something that doesn't exist.
    You make no comment on the contracts with 0% increases .No comment on fairly negotiated contracts that were signed one day, torn up and thrown away the next.No comment on ever increasing workloads with staff reductions.Did you even see what was written?Take off the blinders and try and see what real sacrifices the public sector has endured over the past 12 yrs.Even your premier recognizes that fact with his statements in the house of commons today.As for the 20% increase...we in the public sector are quite happy with the offer but not at the price of giving up benefits we have fought for in order to get it.Would you give up benefits for injured(probably from the ever increasing workloads with limited staff) workers for this raise? We don't feel it necessary to punish people who have given thier heart and soul to providing health care to the people of this province in order to have a few bucks on our paychecks.Maybe you would sell out your fellow injured co-workers for a raise but I assure you .....we won't.
    What bothers me most about your comments and those like you is the perception that the public sector always have thier hand out for unrealistic raises.As I have stated,look at the sacrifices that these people have made over the past 12 yrs.Wanting a fair contract tha doesn't sell out our fellow co-workers is not only reasonable but fair.We are not looking for hand outs ..as you stated and when in your estimation should we start thinking about our future? When our cheques have lost another 25% of its value over the next 12 yrs????? As I stated...your premier recognises this fact and agrees that we have sacrificed over these many yrs to do our part for the future ...why you can't defies all logic and reason.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    I can't believe that a government is threatening people to accept a deal now or it's going to be off the table. HOW CHILDISH. Dictatorship is not what people deserve. It's not about % of increase, that is what most people bring up all the time, it's one of many many items in a collective agreement. People need to educate themselves before just harping on the 20%, pick on some of the hundreds of other items in negotiations.

  • edie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    NAPE needs to let its members vote on a proposal. Soon. Miss Furlong has dragged this out too long.

  • Joe
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Debbie Forward continues with the cry that more money will address the nursing shortage. Perhaps she believes in Santa Claus also.

  • Santa Claus
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Nurses in other provinces may get paid more, but NL also has a much lower cost of living than those provinces. I think they should take the deal and shut it. The US economy is in a crisis and don't think it can't happen here in Canada. Be happy to have good paying jobs.

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    To Eyes Wide Open:

    Gee Andrew maybe we should work for nothin.But then again if we don't pay our ever increasing E.I. premiums how will you survive without your E.I cheque. I am kind of insulted at this statement considering I have been living and working continuously in St. John's for the last 15 years and have never once collected an EI cheque. I have never had a problem finding meaningful employment and am eternally grateful that I don't have someone like Debbie Forward looking out for my best interests. I am one of the hard working private sector employees that drive the economy and don't continually leech off of the government and the people. I would be very happy with a commitment of 20% over the next 4 years, but I live in the real world where I work hard and take what I can get. If I am not happy with my job, I can always look somewhere else.

    P.S. Maybe one of these days I will retire and take a public service job so I can sit back, relax and avoid the real world.

  • A
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    I think its time to start making the Nurses will Remember license plates....

  • Celia
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Why not give everyone in this province a raise... and a 35% one at that, we're rich after all. We've been the poor province for decades. Now that we're rolling in the money, spend the works of it on raises. Who care's about the next generation, we had to go through hard times, they can stick it out too. If the government has to go into a defecit the next couple years, who cares, that's the government's problem. WHOOOOOOO WERE RICH!!!!!!! Give me, give me, give me... want, want, want!!!

  • Bob
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    The nurses; especially Debbie Forward don't care about anyone but themselves.
    Their motto is forget the economy we want more money.
    Regardless if we have a few extra bucks in the bank we should not dole it out to the nurses because they spit out their dummies.
    Premier Williams stick to your guns and if they don't take the current offer when the deadline arrives let them take a strike vote; lets see how right Debbie thinks she is....my money says they take it. All the nurses are not stupid just Debbie Forward and her hencemen.

  • william
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    The nurse's should take the 4 year deal, whats stopping the union to open bargaining after. She should also negotiate the difference to get more nurse's in the hospitals, get the nurse's to do nursing duties only, get the managers to do their jobs, housekeeping to do just that, and finally get rid of Ms Forward, this sounds like a win to me.

  • Eyes wide open
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Andrew states
    It is about time that people and unions stop thinking with their hand out and start thinking about the future

    Let me see.The public service has had to endure cutbacks,layoffs and contract offers in the past of 0-0-0 over 3 yrs.Had a mutually negotiated contract under Clyde Wells government torn up and thrown away just months into the settlement.Over the past 12 yrs contract offers in the range of 1-2% per yr with the inflation rate being in the 4% range.Went out on strike for some meaningful raise only to be legislated back to work and a contract rammed down our throats.Gee Andrew maybe we should work for nothin.But then again if we don't pay our ever increasing E.I. premiums how will you survive without your E.I cheque.Some people just don't have a clue.Frozen wages,miniscule raises,ever increasing workloads and we are being greedy by asking for some kind of fair wage increase? Pls give me a break.

  • R
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Right on Edie.....Come on Furlong let us NAPE members vote on this NOW so we can except it while the goings good. And let us get our Retro-Pay.