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ER Nurses Deserve Covid Top-Up

Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface, has written a letter to the Premier and Minister of Health calling for ER nurses across Manitoba to receive the same pay top-up being offered to nurses working in ICUs and personal care homes.

Earlier this month, the Pallister Government signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Manitoba Nurses Union in December that offered a pay boost. The MNU's website makes it clear that when they asked for all nurses to be covered, the PCs threatened to reject any deal and invoke "Article 10," and force nurses to deployments without extra pay.

An FAQ about the agreement states that, "First and foremost, the MOA is intended to provide some security and recognition for nurses who would have otherwise had redeployment imposed on them with no formal process, and without any compensation offered."

"ICU and personal care home nurses deserve 'security and recognition' and so do ER nurses," said Lamont. "We need to more than just offer thanks and praise to "health care heroes" - they should be paid properly for their hard work."

In response, hundreds of nurses and dozens of doctors have signed a petition (attached) calling for ER nurses to be included.

In a Dec 24. 2020 letter to MLAs, nurses wrote:

"anxiety and stress has reached levels that even our most senior nurses have never witnessed in the course of their careers... When the ICUs are full, the Emergency Room doors never close. We pull staff from all areas of the department to spend hours in the resuscitation room, leaving our peers to provide care for double assignments. Nurses are often going without breaks, without meals, without hydration."

Manitoba Liberals say there is no reason for ER nurses to be excluded - especially given the hazards of their grueling work.

"On top of the hazards and incredible workloads associated with Covid-19, nurses in Manitoba have been working without a contract for four years, and many have been working without a raise for longer than that," said Lamont. "At a time of incredible chaos, the government should deliver on some stability."


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