Support SUN!

I’ve seen nurses in action and I know their issues are real.  A friend, who shall remain nameless, is a nurse and she has confirmed the issues to be real for her, too.  She also told me that she is unable to take her vacation leave because of the heavy workload she faces.  Still, she wants to stay in SK because she loves this part of the world.

The nursing profession has been sold short for much too long.  I am happy to see the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses standing up not only for their rights, but also for patients’ rights in the province.

The body they’re negotiating with, however, leaves a lot to be desired.  The President and CEO Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO), Susan Antosh, is playing aggressive and dirty politics through the media, suggesting that SUN’s requests at the bargaining table are all about money.  From SAHO’s latest news release:

The total wage increase from the 2007 rates is the equivalent of a 34.9% increase for general duty nurses or 37.6% increase for nurses with 20 years or more experience.

The complete proposal package by SAHO continues to support the spirit of the Government/SUN Partnership Agreement and SAHO’s participation at the Partnershp meetings.  SAHO has addressed key recruitment and retention initiatives raised by SUN and has removed many of the initial management proposals.  The remaining management proposals are directly related to the employers’ ability to provide quality patient care and to respond to the health needs of Saskatchewan residents.

SUN’s response?

SUNBurst sent to members May 26, p.m.
Update from the Negotiations Committee at 1715 May 26, 2008.

SUN’s Negotiations Committee sent the following message to SAHO through the conciliation officer:
SUN’s last position, tabled on May 26, 2008 at 0300 is SUN’s firm position for a new collective agreement that supports the SUN/Government Partnership, retention and recruitment of RNs/RPNs and a workplace environment that SUN members desperately need repaired.
SAHO’s proposals would permit Regional Health Authorities to abolish vacancies – in violation of the SUN/Government Partnership.
SAHO’s proposals would permit Regional Health Authorities to replace RNs/RPNs with other providers – in violation of the SUN/Government Partnership.
SAHO’s proposal on professional standards does not protect patient safety or provide professional practice environments essential for retention and recruitment.
SAHO’s proposals on monetary items is far short of the mandate and will not make Saskatchewan competitive with Alberta.
Our committee will not accept a four year agreement under these terms and we will not recommend acceptance of an agreement that does not meet our urgent priorities.

So, someone’s not telling the entire truth here.  Seems to me that since it’s SAHO that has taken this to the public sphere, they’d be the culprits.  And, given that SUN ends their news release with

Remember – do not believe anything unless you hear it from the Union.

it appears that SUN believes Antosh is playing dirty politics, too.

All I know is that I would trust a nurse with my life long, long before I’d trust the CEO of an organization who tries to portray nurses as money-grabbers!