Labour Day Message

Publish date: Monday, September 02, 2019

MNU members

MNU President

Dear members,

On Labour Day, in the same year as the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, I wanted to share a few thoughts about why this holiday is so important for nurses and working people across the province.

As a nurse with over three decades of experience, I can speak to how our union has improved working conditions for nurses throughout the province. It took hard work and sacrifice, but we made real gains to our collective agreement by working together.

That's why today I'm reflecting on the brave nursing activists that established the roots that grew into the Manitoba Nurses Union. This includes the nurses who, in 1965, mortgaged their homes in order to fund the costs of certification. And consider in 1991, when thousands of nurses across Manitoba went on the longest and most successful nursing strike in the history of Canada.

I know nurses are proud of to be part of the MNU. The results of the union representation votes reinforce the fact that we are stronger by working together as a union run for nurses and by nurses.

However, we must remain vigilant. These representation votes were an unnecessary exercise forced on us by a government that was intent on creating conflict among unions. The fact is we must stand together with other unions in defense of our collective rights. We're stronger together.

That's why I'm so proud that, earlier this year, delegates at MNU's AGM voted overwhelmingly to join the Manitoba Federation of Labour. Time and again, despite the recent challenges we've faced, nurses have shown that we are leaders in both health care and in our communities.

It's no secret that nurses have been treated unfairly in recent years. Ongoing health care cuts and closures have affected our members in profound ways. 

Increasing workload, overtime and vacancies have left nurses worried about the future of our health care system. Patients have fewer options for care, and nurses are being asked to clean up the mess.

Ongoing wage freezes for public sector workers and a refusal by the provincial government to bargain should also serve as reminders of the importance of this holiday and the upcoming provincial election (if you haven't yet, check out our election resources at www.manitobanurses.ca/vote-2019).

There are challenges ahead, but we continue to prove that we a force to be reckoned with. By working together, both with each other and with other unions, nurses will continue to make a real positive difference for one another and our patients.

Happy Labour Day. Thank you for your commitment to caring, and for taking time to read this message.

In solidarity,

Darlene Jackson
President, Manitoba Nurses Union

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