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

Reel Reviews: Parlour games or video games

We say, “Rampage is silly fun and Truth or Dare is just silly”

Rain barrels, compost bins popular on Earth Day in Kelowna

Regional District’s annual sale sees all rain barrels sell in 90 minutes

Nature Centre fundraiser uproots

Allan Brooks Nature Centre’s Wine and Wild Things is June 23 at Lonepine Ranch

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

Kalamalka Lake water source turned off

Increased turbidity caused the Regional District of North Okanagan to turn off the taps Saturday

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Low fog creates stunning views near Sicamous

Motorists on the highway between Salmon Arm and Sicamous were treated to spectacular scenery.

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Okanagan-Similkameen freshet looms large: district

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen says property owners have window to prepare for flooding

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

KWIC swimmers compete in Montreal, Victoria

Kelowna-West Kelowna swimmers take to the pool at nationals and westerns.

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

West Kelowna Minor Baseball finally sees the light

The local baseball association has stadium lights at its main stadium

Most Read