Recap of the 41st AGM

Publish date: Wednesday, April 27, 2016

AGM

The 41st annual general meeting of the Manitoba Nurses Union was held on April 19 and 20 in Brandon, Manitoba. Over the two days, 500 delegates from all across the province convened to discuss important issues affecting nurses in Manitoba.

MNU president Sandi Mowat opened the event by speaking about the issues of the past year and highlighting some of the issues that the organization will face in the coming year.

She touched on the extensive work MNU has done in regards to post traumatic stress disorder.

“You can take a great deal of pride in the fact that Manitoba’s Presumptive Legislation, which included nurses, was implemented January 1, 2016,” she said.

She went on to say that there is plenty more work still to be done in this area, especially in regards to the need for inclusion of psychosocial and psychological hazards in Manitoba’s Workplace Health and Safety Regulation. She said that MNU will continue to pursue this very important issue.

“We cannot have healthy patients and a stable health care system without healthy nurses and safe workplaces,” she said.

Next, she spoke about the upcoming Central Table Bargaining; the agreement which cover approximately 10,000 members is currently in its fourth and final year. The agreement, negotiated in 2014, contained a total of 10 per cent in wage increases and market adjustments. The final 1 per cent increase will occur on October 1, 2016. 

She then provided a snapshot of some of the issues facing other nursing unions across Canada such as rollbacks, wage freezes, health care cuts and deskilling.

She said that divide and conquer bargaining strategies do not often work in Manitoba because MNU represents all nurses and stands strong, together.  

“It is our determination, dedication and equally important our self-discipline and our work ethic that make us who we are,” she said. “Those qualities, when we stand together, make us unstoppable.”

Greetings from CFNU

Mowat’s speech was followed by greetings on behalf of the national nurses’ unions.

CFNU president Linda Silas spoke about the organization’s lobbying efforts in securing a new Canada Health and Social Accord.

She said that when it comes to health care “we expect better from all levels of government”.

She went on to speak about some of the issues faced by other nursing unions across the country stemming from the fact they do not represent all categories of nurses.

She praised the founding members of MNU for their progressive thinking 41 years ago by saying that they were wise to form a union that is representative of all nurses.

Resolutions and Motions

On the second day of the annual general meeting, the delegates engaged in spirited debate over a resolution dealing with salary scales and scope of practice.

Several motions were discussed one of which involved adopting a standardized uniform, similar to what was done in Nova Scotia a few years ago.

Yellow Ribbon Awards

The meeting wrapped up with the presentation of the Yellow Ribbon awards, presented annually to members who have shown a commitment to activism and advocacy, especially at the grassroots level.

This year, the awards were presented to:

Joanne Reimer, Public Health Worksite #1
Joanne is the current vice-president of worksite #1 and has been an active union member for more than 15 years. Many nurses have benefited from her mentorship over her career and continue to do so through her advocacy and guidance especially in dealing with the exhaustive interview processes and related grievances.

Renate McGowan, Bethesda Worksite #101
Renate’s passion for unionism became evident from the moment she became a nurse. Over the years, she has been a strong voice for the nurses at Bethesda, most recently culminating in the Independent Assessment Committee hearing to raise concerns on the obstetrical unit. Her work ethic, emphasis on holistic patient care and positive attitude is an invaluable asset to both her colleagues and patients.

Kimberley Fraser, HSC Local #10
Kim has been a constant support and mentor for the nurses on PICU. Her courage in speaking out about her experiences and the long-term impact of working on such an incredibly challenging unit has empowered nurses to come forward and share their stories about workplace trauma.

Marguerite Smith, Treherne Worksite #127
Marguerite helped with the organization of worksite #127 and has been an active union member for 27 years. Marguerite is a constant and strong advocate and is never too busy to provide a helping hand, pass on advice or impart her knowledge and experience.

(l-r) Marguerite Smith, Joanne Reimer, MNU president Sandi Mowat, Kim Fraser and Renate McGowan

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