Nurses’ union says staff threatened with disciplinary action if they don’t work mandatory OT
The union that represents nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador says some of its members have been warned they could be reported to the provincial regulatory body if they don’t accept mandated overtime.
Yvette Coffey, president of the Registered Nurses’ Union of Newfoundland and Labrador, said Wednesday that nurses in Corner Brook have been told they could be reported to the College of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador if they don’t stay for an overtime shift.
“We’ve had situations where people have been mandated when they said, ‘I don’t have child care,'” Coffey said.
“But these nurses are being threatened with being reported to the college if they don’t stay.”
Mandated overtime was the reason nurses working on Newfoundland’s west coast held a rally Tuesday, calling on the provincial government to eliminate the practice in an overburdened and understaffed health-care system that is leaving those working in the field feeling burned out.
If a formal complaint is made to the nurses’ college, the college takes over a review. The college has the authority to issue sanctions, including initiating an investigation, alternate dispute resolution, issuing a caution, or restricting or suspending a nurse’s licence.
The union said it’s not aware of any members yet reprimanded for not complying with mandatory overtime, but added no member has refused the mandate yet.
“This is unacceptable. It’s not sustainable,” Coffey said.
“Here in Corner Brook alone, in March, $300,000 was spent on mandatory overtime. That’s one month alone and it’s costing us. It’s costing us big time. Last year registered nurses in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador worked 400,000 hours of overtime. That’s an increase of 100,000 hours.”