Alberta aiming to end 500 nursing jobs over three years; nurses call it ‘betrayal’
EDMONTON – The union representing Alberta nurses says the provincial government’s intention to eliminate 500 full-time nursing positions over the next three years has left them feeling betrayed.
David Harrigan, a labour negotiator with the United Nurses of Alberta, says that means at least 750 nurses will be out of work once job-sharing is factored in.
Harrigan notes Premier Jason Kenney ran on a platform of reducing spending but keeping front-line services intact.
Harrigan says fewer nurses will translate into longer waits for care, increased privatization and upfront costs to patients.
The government’s intent was communicated in a letter and in a meeting today between the nurses and their employer, Alberta Health Services.
The two sides are heading into collective bargaining next year, and the health agency says in the letter that it wanted to give nurses a heads up on finances and staffing.
“We do not believe Albertans will support this plan, and they should tell the premier so,” Smith said.
“In light of the promises made by the government not to touch front-line health care workers, we will be asking for an immediate emergency meeting with Health Minister Tyler Shandro,” UNA President Heather Smith said. “”We do not believe Albertans will support this plan, and they should tell the premier so.”
(With file from The Canadian Press)