United Nurses of Alberta fighting back against 'hiring freeze'
Published Monday, June 15, 2009 6:03PM MDT
The United Nurses of Alberta claims there is a 'hiring freeze' for registered nurses in our province and are working on a political action campaign against the province to fight back.
Alberta Health Services denies the UNA's claim of a 'freeze', but has admitted that the board is currently re-evaluating registered nurse positions in Alberta and are sticking to a strict budget.
UNA President Heather Smith said the lack of hiring across the province is hurting graduates from securing any jobs.
"This has just slammed doors, not just doors here in the province (but) for graduates coming out of schools," said Smith.
Recent graduate Elizabeth Harink is a newly certified nurse but said there is no where to use her skills. Harink said the lack of opportunity has forced her to waitress to pay off her student bills.
"I didn't go to school for eight years and rack up student loans up to my eyeballs to be a waitress," she told CTV News.
Harink said there's over a 1,000 new graduates from her class looking for jobs right now and so far few have been successful.
In addition to recent plans of launching a political action campaign against the province, the UNA has already filed a grievance against the board for allegedly not posting job vacancies and forcing nurses to work overtime for regular pay.
The UNA insists that the province needs about 2,000 more nurses to deal with what they call a shortage.
Alberta Health Services said there is active recruiting going on across the province and in the last two weeks 200 registered nurse, licensed practical nurse and nurses aid postings have been approved.
The board said the number of postings are lower than usual but claimed it's due to the organizational restructure currently going on. They are holding off posting a number of positions to provide front line opportunities to those who may have been displaced from their managerial roles.
With files from CTV's Erin Isfeld