September 9, 2021
Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB— Today the NDP released a letter from urgent care nurses detailing the unfair treatment they’ve received from the PC government and sounding the alarm on the critical staffing shortage that is putting patients at risk. The Manitoba NDP called on the PC government to reset the relationship with nurses and address the staffing shortage in our hospitals before the fourth wave crests.
“As families send their kids back to school amidst concerns about a fourth wave, staffing up our hospitals should be the government’s number one priority,” said Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “But once again as we see cases going up in other provinces, it’s clear that the PCs have done nothing to increase staffing capacity - in fact, by mistreating nurses, they continue to make the situation worse. It’s time for the PCs to respect our hardworking nurses and address the staffing shortage by giving nurses across the province recognition pay.”
In their letter, urgent care nurses at Seven Oaks, Concordia and Victoria hospitals say they feel “undervalued and unappreciated.” In the email that accompanied the letter, nurses say this mistreatment is resulting in “burnout and forcing them to pursue other employment opportunities.” The nurses believe they have been excluded from a COVID pay increase despite the fact that they routinely work with critically ill Covid-positive patients and have been asked to “pick up extra shifts in ERs due to extreme nursing shortages.” These nurses are often faced with “missing breaks and working voluntary and mandated overtime” to make up for the government’s “critical staffing shortage.” The urgent care nurses feel this exclusion is causing division amongst the nursing workforce. Nurses in rural and Northern ERs have also been excluded from recognition pay.
“A healthy relationship with nurses keeps Manitobans healthy,” said NDP Healthcare critic Uzoma Asagwara. “But under the PC government nurses have been disrespected and their concerns have been ignored. As a result of this mistreatment, nurses are leaving the profession when we need them more ever to keep families safe during the fourth wave. The PCs must end their mistreatment of nurses across the province immediately and offer them a fair contract so they can get the respect they deserve and we can keep Manitobans safe and healthy.”