Monday, May 11, 2009

No win for nurses

So, in an attempt to get back to commenting on current affairs, I notice the nurses in Newfoundland are gearing up for a strike. Sad thing is, they're going to lose.

I have great empathy for nurses. It's a damn hard job they do, the stress can often be unreal, they're frequently taken for granted and they're probably not paid enough given how hard they work. I would never want to do that job. So yeah, I think they ought to get a nice deal when negotiating with the provincial government.

But they're going to lose this. Because if that story is right they have the financial issues settled. That means the big issues they are disagreeing with are to pay nurses higher salaries in hard-to-recruit jobs than what colleagues doing the same work earn along with a government demand that nurses positions would be declared vacant two years after the workers are declared permanently disabled.

I gotta tell you, that's not completely unreasonable for me. I understand how it can piss off some nurses, but when 37% of them vote and say they have no problem with that, you're pretty well screwed. You can't convince a significant majority of your union this is a fight worth having. I guarantee you there's no way on earth you sway public opinion on this. You can sway them on money. You can do it on work conditions. You can do it on under-staffing. But if you're picking your fight on the government attempting to alleviate your staffing problems, just not in a way you will lose that every time.

I mean, feel free to go ahead and fight this if you want. Drag everybody out on strike if you feel like. You were out-maneouvered on this issue and you're going to lose it. The absolute best that's going to happen is when you go on strike the provincial government is going to kick you around for a couple of weeks, save some money while you're on strike, make you look bad and then, before public opinion starts to backfire on them, they're going to legislate you back to work and impose the settlement.

So take your nice pay bump and go home. Because honestly, if you go out, there's no way this ends well for you.

Last Five
1. The scientist - Coldplay*
2. True love way - Kings of Leon
3. To the end of the earth - Keane
4. Stumble blind - Drive
5. In the sky - Mark Knopfler


Vickyth said...

Thanks for saying that. I've been thinking the exact same thing and haven't had the guts to say anything. Honestly, who gets to keep their job and keep getting paid after being unfit for work for TWO YEARS? And having other nurses have to pick up the slack because the salary is going to someone who can't ever do the job again (let's face it, after two years, you're not coming back) should simply have been retrained in another career is whacked.

I have no sympathy. None. And about the pay for filling hard-to-fill jobs, well, honestly? What the hell business of yours is it what someone else makes anyway? No employee should know another persons salary and, if they do find out (accidentally or illicitly), they should be jumped on for ever bringing it up.

Stupid union. Really. No sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Great post TB... well said vickyth