1990-1999

1990:

Talks continued with staff at Sacred Heart Home and there was a hearing in January before the Labour Relations Board, as the employer objected to the Union’s application to represent the RNs. In February, PEINU was granted certification to be the Bargaining Agent for staff nurses employed at the Sacred Heart Home and 20-30 nurses became members. Preparation began in March to negotiate the first Agreement.

The Union was actively involved in the Pay Equity process at two separate tables – the General Hospitals and School of Nursing; and Addiction Services. A new Collective Agreement was negotiated in May, 1990 with Addiction Services. At this time, PEINU began to negotiate a first Collective Agreement for the new members at the Sacred Heart Home with the Employer.

A Joint Committee representing the Union and Management was established. The mandate was to gather and analyze data and information on the following: shift premiums, week-end premiums, specialty pay and responsibility pay. Four PEINU members sat on the committee: Dorothy Blackadar, Darlene Horne, Heather Sherren, and Beryl Chandler.

PEINU cost-shared with the other Atlantic Provinces to do a mini television series called “Recognition and Respect: Canadian Nursing in Transition.” The series aired on five consecutive Sunday evenings, each being 30 minutes long. This increased public awareness of the nursing profession, past and present, and the very serious concerns nurses were attempting to deal with.

Membership in 1990 consisted of 700 members in 10 Locals which included 7 general hospitals, the PEI School of Nursing, Addiction Services Units and the Sacred Heart Home.

1991:

In April, there were further discussions about the closing of the PEI School of Nursing as it was more imminent. PEINU worked closely with the staff of the PEI School of Nursing and Government representatives in preparation for the impending closure of the School.

The first Collective Agreement for Sacred Heart Home was ratified in May. The process took a very long time for a very small, but very committed group of nurses. Negotiations for the Hospitals and School of Nursing were ongoing and the Agreement was eventually ratified.

1992:

It was an active year for the PEINU, with continued involvement in activities such as Pay Equity, negotiations for the Addiction Services and the Sacred Heart Home, and commitment to the NFNU. PEINU became an active participant in the reform process for the province’s health care delivery system.

The Job Evaluation process was completed. Representing all of the employers at this time was the Health Negotiating Agency (HNA).

Preparation was also underway for the negotiation of a new Collective Agreement between the PEI Nurses’ Union and Addiction Services. Salary increases were negotiated with the Sacred Heart Home in accordance with a wage re-opener provision.

The Education Fund began July 1, 1992 with $150 available annually for each member. A committee with representation from PEINU and HNA was established. The purpose of the committee was to allocate and administer the funds designated in the General Hospitals and School of Nursing Collective Agreement.

A Nursing Advisory Committee to the Minister of Health was formed which came out of a recommendation from the National Nursing Symposium that was held in Winnipeg in November, 1990.

1993:

Health Reform & Primary Health Care meetings took place. This was the start of a health system reorganization – one of many over the past few decades. This led to Work Force Adjustment which meant some older nurses took retirement packages, some saw reduction of hours and there were some layoffs.

PEI hosted Eastern Labour School this year. A highlight during Labour School was the participation of students and instructors in a rally held in front of the Shaw building as nurses joined in solidarity with other health care workers to request that government “Leave the Care in Health Care”.

Membership was at 725 members made up of 10 locals which included 7 General Hospitals, the PEI School of Nursing, Addiction Services and Sacred Heart Home.

1994:

PEINU signed a Pay Equity Agreement in January. This was another long process. It was an attempt to give women equal compensation to men – equal pay for work of equal value.

1994 was a year of disillusionment and upheaval for the Union. Bill #70 Labour Reduction Costs was introduced on May 14, 1994 and passed into law on May 19th. This meant a 7.5% pay rate reduction in the Public Sector for pay rates of more than $28,000. PEINU was the only union to have all of its members hit with the 7.5% reduction. As a result of Bill #70, the six affected unions formed a Coalition – PEINU, CUPE, IUOE, PEITF, UPSE and IBEW. There was a real movement toward public sector unions working together.

The Labour Coalition held 4 successful rallies at the Provincial Legislature, a protest at CP Prince Edward (now the Delta Hotel) when the Liberal Party hosted a $1,000/plate lobster dinner, conducted polls, media campaigns and a canvass of PEI businesses with a request that they display the 7.5% reduction sign to support the Unions. The message was that such a reduction would hurt everyone. The Coalition challenged the existence and need of the Royal Commission on Public Sector Labour Relations and voted not to participate in the Royal Commission.

The Union faced the greatest challenges ever encountered up until this point in time. There were many uncertainties and unanswered questions. The need for collective action and mutual support was integral.

The last class at the PEI School of Nursing graduated this year.

1995:

On June 30, 1995, Sacred Heart Home closed after 40 years and nurses received severance pay. These members had been a vibrant part of the membership. Many found work in other areas including long term care in both the public and private sectors.

Public Sector Pay Reduction Act legislation expired on May 16, 1995. July, 1995 brought significant jurisdictional changes. About 30 nurses were transferred from PEINU to UPSE (Head Nurses, General Supervisors, Nursing Supervisors and Department Supervisors). About 220 Nurses employed in long term care, public health, home care, community mental health and Hillsborough Hospital came from UPSE to PEINU. As a result, membership increased to approximately 900. The Union was restructuring to meet the needs of its changing membership and undergoing transitional changes involving benefits, payroll system and new locals.

The position of President became full-time in October, 1995. This was due to the increased membership, the complexity of issues and increased demands on the individual in that role.

1996:

Preparation for negotiations began in January of this year with the purpose of achieving one Collective Agreement for all PEINU members. The Negotiating Committee had to standardize the following 4 Agreements:

  1. Collective Agreement between the General Hospitals of PEI and the PEINU.
  2. The Agreement between Addiction Services and PEINU
  3. The Agreement between the Government of PEI and the PEI Union of Public Sector Employees.
  4. The Transitional Agreement of July, 1995.

Meetings for Classification Review were ongoing. It was difficult to compare salary scales from UPSE with those of PEINU. There had to be an objective review of seniority lists because UPSE used years of service and PEINU used hours of service.

The PEINU membership voted unanimously to disaffiliate from the NFNU on April 24, 1996. Financial considerations factored into this decision.

1997:

Classification Review was still ongoing.

1998:

The Union undertook to have an organizational review. It was growing and there were some internal issues. The Union was continuing to deal with complexities surrounding scheduling issues in the worksites and was addressing seniority issues. Membership was in excess of 900.

1999:

PEI hosted Eastern Labour School from May 12-14th.

A new Collective Agreement was signed on December 10, 1999.