“A Slap In The Face” Local Nurses Hit The Streets Fighting Back At Proposed Salary Rollback, Changes To Job

Many local nurses and members of the public took to the streets to protest proposed changes from the provincial government.

Healthcare professionals picketed in front of 27 hospitals across the province, including the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, on Wednesday in an attempt to share more information about negotiations between them and the GoA.

JoAnn Cluney, United Nurses of Alberta Local 96 President, tells Mix News the province wants to bring in a three per cent salary rollback, remove nurses from being in charge of units, and have the power to change their schedules at a moments notice.

She says they feel like they’re personally being attacked.

“We’ve worked in the pandemic now for 18 months, we have all gone over and above what we’re called on to do and having the government not be fair in negotiations is a slap in the face.”

Specifically discussing the proposed rollback, the GoA states they need to reduce the province’s debt.

Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, notes they’re looking at Alberta’s long-term fiscal health.

Omer Hussein, Chair of the Health Sciences Association Of Alberta Union at the NLRHC, says they’ve been told the same thing for years with the main difference now being more healthcare professionals are in desperate need for support from their government.

“I know a lot of my colleagues are suffering from anxiety to depression and on top of that to see our work not respected, we haven’t had a wage increase in six years.”

Cluney argues the potential decrease is just one of several issues they’re currently dealing with.

She claims she knows of three individuals who’ve left the province, despite losing pay, due to issues with the government which have been ongoing since before the pandemic.

“I’m looking at early retirement being a good option right now.”

Naomi Broderick, United Nurses of Alberta Local 229 President, says she’s also had discussions with many of her colleagues about leaving the province or simply finding a new profession.

She believes many can’t deal with these continuous ‘kick in the guts.’

“They’ve been overworked during COVID and feel like they can’t do it anymore and after all this there’s almost no reasons to keep going in the trade if you’re going to be treated like crap.”

The UNA is planning on holding more ‘Days of Actions’ to inform the public on updates regarding their contract negotiations.

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