Nurses vote 90% for strike at Capital Health
3 NSGEU health workers' groups set for work stoppages
Registered nurses at the Capital District Health Authority voted 90 per cent in favour of strike action on Monday.
They are the latest group of health workers represented by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union to back strike action in their fight for a new contract.
The vote was a secret ballot, but the counting of those ballots happened in front of the Halifax Infirmary on Summer Street.
Joan Jessome, NSGEU president, explained why the union chose this very public display.
"It's about their work life and patient safety, so we wanted to be in front of the employer because the employer really hasn't bargained at the bargaining table with us on any of these issues. And a strike vote is a significant vote for nurses to take," she said.
Psychiatric nurse Colleen McKenna said she doesn't want to strike, but she doesn't like current work conditions either.
"Since about the summer I would say Capital Health made a decision to stop filling a lot of our sick calls, so you're working short-staffed quite a bit," she said.
RNs in the province have been without a contract since the fall of 2012. They do not have a strike date yet.
On Monday, 1,701 nurses voted in favour of a strike while 195 were against.
Strike would send 'clear message'
"I think that sends a clear message and it should send a clear message across the province that nurses are speaking up for their working conditions and how it impacts patient care," said Jessome.
Frances Isnor has a daughter at the hospital. She thinks nurses are fighting a good fight.
"I think the patients deserve that and I think the burnout is too young for nurses today," she said.
Yolanda Dwyer's husband underwent a heart transplant on Friday. She doesn't think nurses should be allowed to strike.
"They should be with the patients, taking care of them. What's going to happen with the patients if they go on strike?"
Jessome said the union has heard the governing Liberals are planning to recall the legislature this week or next to pass a law outlawing a strike by nurses.
NSGEU home support workers are set to start a strike on Friday morning.
Workers with the Victorian Order of Nurses are set to strike a week from Tuesday.