2010-present

2010:

There was much discussion surrounding the Employer’s new “Model of Care” as it was implemented in various work sites. Patients were presenting with more complex health issues and the acuity in both acute care and long term care was creating many new challenges. One of the big concerns was that the nurse/patient ratios had not been adjusted to reflect this change.

The “Research to Action” project was being championed by CFNU and PEINU with government funding. This project developed continuing education in areas of skill shortage; more specifically the implementation of a PEI based Critical Care and Emergency Nursing Program.

Frustration with government was increasing. They appeared to listen to concerns, but the decisions they made in relation to health care delivery did not reflect the same level of understanding and respect for Registered Nurses. They didn’t work on “Island made solutions” – working together to find solutions. Instead, they accepted direction from external organizations that had no ownership in how the changes would affect Islanders.

PEINU spent most of the year preparing for the rollout of the MOC in 4 showcase units.

Mona O’Shea was elected President in May, 2010.

Health PEI was newly established – a Crown corporation that would take over management of the delivery of health services in the province from the Department of Health. All but a few of PEINU members would transfer to the new employer. An arbitration would address issues of the few RNs who would remain under the Department of Health.

In late February, the union relocated to its new office building on 10 Paramount Drive. This new space brought opportunities for growth and education to the membership.

2011:

PEINU developed a MOC Committee to deal with the numerous issues arising out of the MOC changes. The committee was instrumental in negotiating conditions for continued employment for RNs impacted by staffing reductions.

Unregulated allied health care workers started working in acute care settings for the first time ever. Nurses continued to struggle with workload issues, MOC changes, and excessive overtime.

The Research to Action project was successful, seeing 17 RNs obtain certification in Critical Care and Emergency Care Nursing in 2010. Proposal for continuation of the project was presented to Government in early November, 2010. This would see PEI having a Critical Care and Emergency Care Nursing Program. Members would no longer be required to travel off Island to take the course.

Wage Re-opener arbitration in December, 2010 resulted in PEINU members receiving a 2.5% wage increase for the 2010-11 contract year.

A new contract was ratified in the Fall of 2011 which included no lay-off provisions for the term ending March 31, 2014.

PEINU hired a new Communications Education & Research Officer to assist with both internal and external PR, membership, education and research support. The position became permanent on June 18, 2012.

2012:

Union’s leaders from across the province embarked upon a strategic planning for the organization. The process helped determine the direction for the Union over the next few years and lead to some new and improved services for the membership.

The PEINU collective agreement did not expire until March 31st, 2014 – but preparation for the collective bargaining began in the Fall with the selection of the Union’s Negotiations Committee. In the past few years, collective bargaining processes involved public sector Unions across the country being under attack by Federal and Provincial governments. The Federal Ministry responsible for Labour established a pattern of legislating Unions back to work and imposing contracts when faced with strikes that cause any apparent inconvenience to the general public. Some provincial governments were interfering in the right of Unions and “arm’s length” employers such as Health Boards or Regional Education Boards by imposing new contracts and by creating new labour legislation that would curtail the power of arbitrators to award wage settlements that are not approved by governments.

PEINU moved forward in its 25th year representing front line public sector Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners in the province.

2013:

Over the previous decade, the size of the nursing workforce and the demand for RNs by health care systems led to contract language and wage incentives that assisted in recruiting and retaining nurses. Universities could not graduate a sufficient amount of RNs fast enough. Employers offered numerous enticements to both experienced and new RNs to try and fill vacancies that were too numerous to track.

And then the tide turned. In the last 5 years, governments across the country recognized they needed to get a handle on ever increasing health care budgets. At the same time they were faced with a shortage of RNs. Health care employers started deleting existing RN vacancies they couldn’t fill, and starting hiring less expensive allied health care providers who could be trained in a fraction of the time. The deletion of RN positions due to the employer’s implementation of its new model of care continued to occur at worksites and units across the Island.

Promotion of white/black for easier identification began. PEINU took a proactive approach in trying to help the membership re-establish the visible identity in the workplaces.

2015:

The mandatory conciliation process concluded and no agreement was reached. PEINU views were to focus on keeping pace with other nursing union counterparts in Atlantic Canada for an appropriate wage increase. Wage rates in NS, NB, NL outpaced PEINU rates significantly. The Island experienced the exodus of UPEI nursing graduates.

2016:

The employer was posting a number of permanent positions, postings were going “open to public” and the PEINU membership had options to move around in the system in ways other than through temporary positions. The tide was turning in terms of the impact of reductions of front line RN positions through the employer’s Model of Care initiative. They system was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some units and worksites who implemented the model had seen increase in RN positions.

The number of retirees was on the upswing.

PEINU’s new strategic plan entitled “Safeguarding Nurses; A Welcoming Harbour” set out the direction for the next three years (June 2016-July 2019).

Health PEI hired over 50% of the graduating class from UPEI through the two sponsorship agreement. For the first time, the employer recognized the need to recruit and retain nurses in PEI.

2017:

Discussions were made with Federal Members and Provincial Ministers, in collaboration with CFNU, to provide the evidence based research indicating the necessity for the National Pharmacare program.

The term of the Collective Agreement continued through the year and concludes March 2018. All members saw two pay increases throughout the year.

There were still many RN vacancies across the Island. Health PEI developed a second Return to Service (RIS) for nursing students. However, the new agreement had no dollar value. PEINU predicted the shortage would eventually happen following the introduction of the Model of Care initiative, which resulted in the elimination of numerous front line acute and long term care RN positions from the system.

In combination with the creation of the provincial nursing strategy, the Secretariat office for Recruitment and Retention is keeping a watchful eye on retirements, how many nurses are graduating, how many nurses are leaving PEI and the reasons, and how many RNs they will need to keep the health care system functioning.

PEINU delegates participated in the CFNU Biennium travelling to Calgary, Alberta.

2018:

Many units, worksites and services are dealing with nursing shortages. Members are experiencing the impacts of the employer’s inability to backfill record setting permanent and temporary vacancies. Health PEI indicates the system has no fewer than 100 vacant RN positions.

The Union has issued a Notice to Bargain to the employer at the end of January.