Manitobans Demand a FAIR Contract for Nurses & Quality Patient Care

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Manitobans Demand a FAIR Contract for Nurses & Quality Patient Care

This petition made change with 22,192 supporters!
Jay Hall started this petition to Mr Premier (Premier, Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party) and

To the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba,

Nurses Are the Glue that Holds Healthcare Together!

The current PC Party of Manitoba, led by Brian Pallister and now Kelvin Goertzen, has pushed a false narrative that nursing contracts are just about nurses and money, and they treat the issue as if it’s no big deal. That couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Retention and recruitment are the #1 concerns among nurses but the policies of the MB PC government are in direct conflict with that goal. 

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking that this is just like every typical labour dispute. If nurses don’t like this employer (MB PCs), they can go work in another province or profession. No one is forcing them to be nurses. Granted …

But there is a flaw in that thinking though. You can’t deny that the last thing we want in this Province is hundreds of skilled nurses leaving. You can’t underestimate the gravity of this getting out of hand because if this is the path our province is going to go down then many will be right behind them moving as well. That’s a very dystopian scenario where paramedics, doctors, firefighters, and any critical service provider are all forced to leave because they have extremely reasonable requests. 

Think your grandparents, parents, children, or even yourself will need healthcare in the next 4 years? Could they potentially need life-saving treatment? Where there once stood a nurse ready to save us, may now be an empty hallway if the PCs get their way. We already have a nursing shortage because of MB PC policy and they want to make matters worse.

This is a real-life horror movie.

Considering that, this petition is a part of a larger push towards a contract for nurses! Sign and get your friends/family to sign. We need to put the pressure on because only then will they pay attention. It's only when a party's seats are compromised that they act.

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GO TO MBNURSESMATTER.CA for 7 ways to help! We have t-shirts, yard signs, MLA contact info and more.

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They’ve put their lives on the line for us, the least we can do is put our digital signatures on a line for them.

It comes down to this simple statement that a nurse made to us while discussing contract negotiations, “The nurses of Manitoba are being treated like we did something wrong and have to be punished. There is no fairness and there is no respect. We are second class to the PCs.”

We’ve talked to hundreds of nurses, and they ALL echo this sentiment. Doesn’t that say it all? The men and women who have dealt with the brunt of COVID-19, who work exhaustive hours to keep our population healthy, and who take every abusive and fear-filled statement that comes out of our mouths [when we're sick, injured or out of our minds] with a smile ALL feel mistreated by this government.

We look up to doctors but anyone that has ever had a health complication knows it is the nurses that help us through our pain, our discomfort, taking our meds, when we have accidents, turning us, talking with us, and showing us true compassion.

So how does the PC Manitoba Government repay them?

Bill 28 froze their wages. FROZE! That means every nurse has worked through COVID-19 knowing they will not see even a yearly inflation raise. They risk their lives for us every day knowing the government does not care about them and their families. And I know, some might say that’s harsh, but keep reading. Any sensible person will look at this petition and see that there is only one natural conclusion; The PCs hates nurses and doesn’t care if Manitobans die.

Bill 29, the representation vote that pits unions against one another. The PC government has described the primary objective of Bill 29 as establishing a fixed number of bargaining units for each health region and for each province-wide health employer, such as CancerCare Manitoba and Diagnostic Services of Manitoba Inc. This just clouds the issue. Yes, we know you hate unions but nurses are more exhausted than ever and it is a known fact that when someone is exhausted in their job, their performance suffers. When mistakes are made, we can blame Pallister and Goertzen because his actions have directly caused the issues nurses are now confronted with. Put another way, imagine working 16-hours, back-to-back days, on your feet, dealing with life or death situations, blood and puke, bodily fluids, people tripping out, broken bodies, families beyond comfort, and more. Every day for a nurse at work is pretty much the worst day for all of us imaginable.

Bill 16 takes away a union’s right for binding arbitration—ultimately leaving the public sector out in the wind or on a work stoppage indefinitely. In order for the nurses to get to arbitration before the Bill this fall becomes law, the nurses must take job action for 60 consecutive days. This means the nurses must be on strike by July! They will do their best to maintain patient care, while continuing to perform essential services, but this is a dangerous situation with a nursing shortage that is already restricting the performance of our healthcare system.

Clinical Consolidation all but made the pandemic impossible to deal with properly. Essential resources were taken away, hours were cut for some and extended for others beyond the threshold of productivity, and as a result patients and nurses are suffering. Don't let the BS that the MB PCs are shovelling fool you. They didn't expand ICU's. They merely repurposed every corner of the hospital they could. It just isn't a good situation for any of us.

Now, the PCs wants to do the following:

  • Take all nurses and put them in a giant float pool, which would force nurses to work at any hospital at any time causing no stability in their lives. There are select use cases for a float pool but broad use was never the goal of such a program. Logistically, our healthcare system isn’t even set up to handle such a change. The IT, administrative, and nursing hours, as well as training and program guidance that would be needed, surely would cost millions. Think about this one problem … nurses can’t just login to other systems outside of their home hospital or care facility. This would mean a total overhaul of healthcare IT systems. How are nurses supposed to learn how every hospital in Manitoba runs? The MB PCs will say this is an exaggeration but we all know that if the possibility is there for government to exploit ... they will! Healthcare isn’t Bingo, Mr Premier. You can just draw names out of a box and assign them to a board in random order.
  • There is no plan for attraction and retention of nurses, and as such, to survive, nurses are going to other provinces. Right now, the province wants cuts or to continue the pay freeze. Inflation has risen 8%* since the wage freeze and an average nurse in Saskatchewan is making 10 - 20% more pay with a lower or par cost of living. Why would our best and brightest nurses stay here with these considerations? Would you? 
  • The latest proposal by Brian and company MAY include WAGE CUTS (4.6%), and it may remove paid vacation and sick time. Keep in mind that we are in no way associated with MNU so the information we are providing is through back channels. So, nurses, who absolutely need a vacation after what they see and do, won’t get vacation pay anymore? The PCs will also deny sick time to nurses who go to work knowing they may get sick helping us? Isn’t that something afforded to every single politician in The Leg? When did politicians become more valuable than healthcare workers? Let’s run a provincial poll and see if anyone agrees with that position.

FACTS:

  • There is a CRITICAL code red nursing shortage that started before COVID-19 with PC MB policies.
  • The current decisions by the PCs of MB make attraction and retention nearly impossible. Wages are far less than other provinces in most cases and while being forced to work longer shifts, Manitoba offers the lowest night shift and weekend premiums of the 5 provinces (Ontario west).
  • Cuts have hurt patient care. To put this more bluntly, because of the PCs of MB you could go to the hospital and not receive the best quality care possible because either there won’t be enough nurses or the nurses working will be exhausted after working longer shifts than any politician is even willing to, and after witnessing what nurses must because of their jobs, have their spirit broken.
  • CAME TRUE: Brian Pallister likely isn’t running for office so all he cares about is budgets because that’s what the legacy of politicians has been up until now, but we’re waking up and realizing there is so much more to the legacy of a politician. Because of the PC’s of MB, we are shipping scared and vulnerable patients out of Province to fight for their lives away from anything familiar. That’s what happens when you shut down ICUs. That's what happens when Brian Pallister runs things. If he were a CEO at a company, the board would have turfed his butt long ago.

Think about an average nurse who is also a single parent (which is common because of the demands of their job). Forced OT means more money spent on child care and other expensive services and missing out on big, life moments. Forced float pool means no stable plans or budgeting. A lack of attraction and retention of nurses means longer hours and more issues, as well as harm to patient care.

For many of us, we’d just quit our jobs if we had to work under these conditions. Nursing is a calling, and for many, quitting is not an option. They’d rather live with these conditions than move onto another career. But, they are at their breaking point. We know many who go home and cry themselves to sleep regularly.

Nurses have a special type of empathy built into their personality that many don’t. They’d rather help heal while hurting than feel helpless to heal.

We can’t even conjure up a reason the PCs would take this action except to (maybe?) balance the budget as a legacy item. We’d love to hear him explain why nurses … why healthcare? Instead he just floats like a butterfly when asked about the issue in briefings. 

Why not other cuts? Why not fellow politicians? Why not political perks? Why don’t MLAs make less than nurses considering they get more vacation time and have a much cushier job? Why not cuts to politics in general? Why not cut advertising budgets considering they have the people’s ear whenever they want? The PCs just announced a $2,000,000 campaign on June 3, 2021 to support their vaccine incentives! Being that a few of us that have written this proposal are in marketing and advertising, we know that this is an absolutely unnecessary expense.

Hell, if we’re so broke that we can’t afford healthcare, I say we sell their castle (The Leg) and turn it into a huge water park. Politicians can move into some cozy Exchange District office space for much cheaper. Seriously, shouldn’t healthcare, safety and education be the last budget lines to cut? Politically, or as a business decision, this is just an incompetent move.

We’d even support bringing back that 1% PST cut no one asked for if it meant our healthcare system could get back to pre-Pallister “plans”.

Some of this is obviously tongue in cheek but what good is a nice building on nice grounds if our healthcare is second rate ... which it is becoming more so every single day. Kelvin Goertzen should tell Manitobans the truth about how many more of our sickest will be shipped to other provinces. How much is that costing us? Do the cuts he proposes mean a cut rate health care system that relies on the goodwill of other jurisdictions in Canada?

Here’s another idea that the PCs could put into action quickly. Reduce the tremendous amounts of overtime and agency expenditures by giving nurses a fair contract and hiring the amount we need to properly staff our healthcare system.

Manitobans need to know that WHEN we get sick or have a medical issue, we will be well taken care of.

To the MB PC caucus and party, our nurses deserve better than this and we demand a fair contract now or your party is close to losing a lot of seats. Many of those that are involved with spreading this are Conservative. If you can’t show that you care about the people you call heroes and the people they protect, then we can’t trust you with our future!

Here’s how you can help:

  • SIGN THE PETITION!
  • Share the petition to get more signatures.
  • Make your profile picture on social media this picture <link to follow>. Don’t forget to put a link to the petition in the caption!
  • Make a video about nurses, how important they are, whatever ... and post it on your social media with #mbnursesdeservebetter and tag Kelvin Goertzen ... but more importantly, the MB PC government. They need to know we won’t stand for their backing of this horrible policy.
  • Flood every PC MLA’s inbox with this petition demanding a contract now before they force these nurses to strike. Or you can constantly call and demand action! Here’s a list of their contact info.
  • Buy a t-shirt for $20 with Chris Chuckry’s illustration on it. 100% of profits go to Fionn MacCool’s campaign to feed hungry, overworked healthcare workers. Go to https://mbnursesmatter.ca for more info.
  • We have yard signs available. Go to https://mbnursesmatter.ca for more info.

PLEASE NOTE: We are not in any way associated with the MNU or any official organization. We're just some Manitobans who want to see nurses get the fair contract they so rightfully deserve, because as Pallister himself once said, "They're heroes".

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