“Small town or big city, no matter what kind of medical services you need, where you live should not prevent you from accessing these services when you need them most.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (19 July 2016) — Members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE), who work for the Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority, are holding information pickets in Selkirk, Gimli and Beausejour this week.
Recruitment, retention and workload still issues at Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority
“These members rejected a final offer from the employer in March due to ongoing concerns over recruitment and retention and excessive workloads,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “They have given the employer plenty of time to return to the table and resume discussions. But 2 months is too long and we want Manitobans to know what’s at stake here.”
She said the issues still on the table should be of great concern for Interlake residents.
“The biggest issue for our EMS members is fatigue — paramedics working in rural areas deal with significant fatigue issues because of the large area covered and long transports of patients to hospitals. It’s simply not safe to put a medic behind the wheel with a patient in the back when they have been working without rest for 15 or 20 hours. This is a matter of public safety and affects the care that patients receive," she said.
Fatigue, excessive overtime the result of understaffing
MGEU/NUPGE members of Local 411 ― a dedicated team of health care professionals ranging from mental health workers to dietitians to case coordinators who assess and manage home care client needs ― say recruiting and retaining professionals to the area can be difficult. They find themselves juggling excessive workloads because jobs are not being filled.
“Both of these groups struggle with excessive overtime due to lack of staff,” Gawronsky said. “In the case of EMS, a medic can make in excess of thirty percent more doing the same job in Winnipeg.”
MGEU/NUPGE members prepared to take strike action to get deal that improves services and patient care
With calls for a return to the table going unanswered so far, members are prepared to take strike action in order to get a fair deal and ensure a better level of emergency services and patient care in the region.
“Because of the workplace conditions we’re trying to address, fewer medical professionals are willing to practice in these communities and that affects everyone,” Gawronsky said. “Small town or big city, no matter what kind of medical services you need, where you live should not prevent you from accessing these services when you need them most.”
Information pickets being held to tell Interlake residents what's at risk
Information pickets will be held:
- Selkirk, Monday, July 18, 11:30 a.m. — 1 p.m., IERHA Corporate Office ― 233A Main Street
- Beausejour, Tuesday, July 19, 11 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., Beausejour Hospital ― 151-1st Street South
- Gimli, Wednesday, July 20, 12 p.m. — 1:30 p.m., Johnson Memorial Hospital ― 120-6th Avenue
Help send a message to the government! Tell them that where you live should not prevent you from accessing the services you need when you need them most. It’s time to return to the table and negotiate a fair deal.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE