'We're tired of being tired': Nurses rally in support of healthcare workers
A convoy of vehicles decorated with flags and banners wound its way past Edmonton hospitals Friday morning to show support for healthcare workers.
Organized by United Nurses of Alberta, the drive-by rally aimed to display solidarity with healthcare staff fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic's fourth wave while sending a message to the provincial government that nurses are done asking.
Nurses said that they’re "done asking" for more healthcare funding – as the province’s last contract proposal for nursing salaries saw wages frozen for the first three years of a five-year collective agreement.
“Why do you want to destroy such an important part of society, why…why?,” said Heather Smith, UNA president, when asked what questions she has for Premier Jason Kenney.
“We’re tired of being tired," said Pauline Worsfold with the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union. "We’re tired of being asked to come to work.
“We’re demanding safe patient ratios, we’re demanding more nurses, we’re demanding more help.”
Alberta’s Finance Minister Travis Toews responded to Friday’s rally with a statement expressing his respect and appreciation for the work of nurses province-wide.
“We respect the rights of all Albertans to express their opinions on matters important to them," Toews said. "Appreciation and respect for all Alberta nurses runs deep and wide throughout the province.
"Our government is truly appreciative of the hard work and dedication that health care professionals – especially nurses – have shown over the year and a half. I can’t comment on specific proposals, as negotiations are ongoing, but our hope is that AHS can reach a settlement that respects Alberta’s nurses and the fiscal reality the province is dealing with.”
Smith said many nurses are overburdened with too many patients in this fourth wave.
"We will do everything we can with our members and our colleagues in other unions and the public and our various coalitions to push back and stop the destruction of health care," Smith said.
She added that Friday’s motorcade – which looked to be made up of little more than two dozen vehicles – would have been larger if not for the fact that many nurses were either working or too exhausted to attend.
With files from CTV Edmonton’s David Ewasuk
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