B.C. Nurses' Union president Gayle Duteil speaks to rally at B.C. legislature Thursday. Their contract expired more than a year ago.

Nurses push for new hires at legislature rally

BCNU says "grievalanche" over 10,000 unstaffed shifts has moved Health MInister Terry Lake to action

VICTORIA – Members of the B.C. Nurses’ Union brought a sea of pink umbrellas to the B.C. legislature Thursday to call on the B.C. government to honour a provision that requires health authorities to replace absent nurses.

BCNU president Gayle Duteil said 2012 contract provision replacing absent nurses can’t be implemented without more registered nurses hired to provide the relief.

“It’s a sad fact that we don’t have enough nurses to deliver safe care for meeting the staffing mandated by our collective agreement,” Duteil said. “We don’t have enough nurses to backfill vacancies, to backfill absences, and we don’t have enough nurses to meet the daily spikes in acuity.”

The recent settlement of 1,600 union grievances for staffing includes $5 million for specialty nurse training, $1 million to support increased RN staffing and $2 million in “grievance settlement funds” paid to nurses affected by staffing shortages. The staffing fund is available to licensed practical nurses who want to upgrade their training.

Health Minister Terry Lake said the interim agreement is a step towards renewing the latest BCNU contract, which expired in March 2014.

“We worked through a mediator in the last month or so and came to an agreement, so I think we’re in a good place to work towards our new contract,” Lake said.

“We recognize there are some areas like specialist nursing where we do have challenges, and we have committed some of our funding to recruit and train more specialist nurses, and more community nurses as well.”

Nurses cheered as Duteil reminded them that their “grievalanche” had an effect. She said the union documented 10,000 shifts that were not filled during a six-week period at health facilities around the province, and represent only the “tip of the iceberg.”

NDP leader John Horgan addressed the rally, promising that his 2017 election platform will put nurses “front and centre in the health care model.”

 

Just Posted

Column: themes from the 2017 B.C. Flood and Wildfire Report

Columnist Jim Hilton offers an overview of the new fire and flood report’s 14 Strategic Shifts

Big victory for Quesnel’s U16 girls softball team in Kamloops

Unstoppable bats and a gem from Musselman propelled the girls to the win

Local athletes impress on Day 1 of Zone track and field event

CSS, QJS students showed off impressive skill as Quesnel hosts North Central Zone Championships

Tsilhqot’in community names officially recognized by Province

Tsilhqot’in names will now appear on provincial government resources, maps and databases

Editorial: respect where it’s due

Quesnel’s youth are impressive in their maturity and eloquence

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Most Read