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Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s overhaul to manage its $20-million debt will affect not only registered nurses but also unionized registered practical nurses and service workers, one union says.
At least 11 employees in women’s and children’s department, medicine and the emergency department will be affected, according to Trish Douma, the regional director at the Christian Labour Association Of Canada (CLAC).
“I think it’s important for the public to know that practical registered nurses are professional, highly skilled and highly trained,” she said. “And they are able to provide excellent patient care and I think that’s really important for the public to know that.”
Her union represents those service workers which include full-time and part-time registered practical nurses including one unit aide at CKHA. She said this means that there will be no more RPNs in the women’s and children’s department as a result of the hospital’s overhaul.
According to their figures, CLAC represents around 475 workers currently employed by the Health Alliance and six part-time, four full-time and one casual union employees will be receiving layoff notices. There were a number of other vacant positions in unit aide and housekeeping, due to transfers or retirement, that won’t be filled in because of the CKHA recovery plan.
According to that plan, 26 full-time and 15 part-time positions are going to be cut and, through natural turnover and retirements, CKHA says it hopes to minimize any involuntary job loss.
The CKHA report said, “the hospital will also create evidence-based Nursing Resource Teams to help absorb displaced nursing staff and pursue alternate staffing opportunities for non-nursing, unionized staff.”
Over a year ago, CKHA began going to overhaul its operations and deal with its $20-million-plus debt through job reductions, rearranging of services and infusion of capital investment for things like new equipment.
A hospital supervisor was appointed by the province to remedy how CKHA had operated at a deficit for many years which made it unable to invest in new programs, equipment or facilities.
Douma said that despite these cuts, their union employees, covered under their collective agreement, will be able to explore “bumping options” which means that they will be moved around to other places within the hospital.
“The next eight to 10 months will certainly be stressful because you’re not quite sure where you’re going to land,” she said. But she added that the long-term future for RPNs is good.
The CLAC, represents workers in the construction, health care and food industries. It was established in 1952 to represent workers on the basis of “Christian social principles.”
BY THE NUMBERS
As a result of the CKHA overhaul, the CLAC says these union workers’ jobs will be cut:
4 full-time registered practical nurses (RPNs)
6 Part-time registered practical nurses
1 casual employee
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