• Dawn Riley

Local Nurses Walk For Changes

Current and retired nurses along with Local 55 UNA president getting ready to walk from the Vermilion Health Centre to Main street in Vermilion to bring attention to the barriers to providing excellent patient care. Photo Lorna Hamilton

This past June the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union (CFNU) held a virtual conference in which short staffing, unsafe workplaces, nursing staff burn out, overtime and vacant positions were discussed. September 17, 2021 was decided upon as a “day of action” to stop the downward spiral of long-standing nurse shortages, health and safety issues, and undervalued work.

According to Megan Steiner, Local 55 President, this national day of action is needed to mobilize nurses, allies and supporters across Canada to unify around a collective call for immediate action to address the nursing crisis. Canadian nurses’ average weekly overtime hours increased by 78 per cent during the pandemic. Overtime was even more significant in Ontario and Quebec, surging by 109 per cent and 173 per cent respectively during the same period. The cycle of excessive overtime and unsustainable workloads, coupled with widespread verbal and physical violence, has meant nurses’ mental and physical health has deteriorated.

“In Vermilion, Local 55 UNA members are frustrated and concerned with the path that healthcare is on. Understa