RL: We worked closely together. We knew it would be a really difficult round of bargaining, because all these new nurses who had come to us had their own collective agreements. So we brought a member from each of those units. It was really a big committee, and our principle was that if nurses in Regina could accumulate up to 140 sick days, we wanted that for everyone. We knew we wouldn`t have that for everyone — we wouldn`t have everything for everyone — so our return position was “those who have it won`t lose it.” The working action is therefore very low on the totem. Duck. We went on strike at 7:00 a.m. and at 11:00 a.m. they filed laws to get us back to work, so there was no time to see if the work action would be effective or not.
But we still didn`t have a collective agreement. So we started negotiating. I believe it was on July 1 that we got our agreement. RL: We have a process called the Nursing Advisory Process, in which you can document critical incidents that occur in case of understaffing – or equipment problems, etc. If the employer and the union do not reach an agreement, an independent evaluation committee (ACI) will eventually be called upon. However, the decision of the Independent Evaluation Committee (IAC) was not binding. So we tried to make those decisions binding. In some provinces, such as Ontario, they also did not have the right to strike, or it is very limited. There will be shelters that could strike, but the nurses in the hospital do not have the right to strike.
But what there is is a litigation mechanism, and then we go to binding arbitration. It must therefore be a multi-year plan, and you aspire to it. But you also have to manage the expectations of your members because of this stupid legislation. Our negotiating conference would have been held in the autumn of 1998 (October or November) and that is where we took the principles and not the exact language of what we would achieve in this round of negotiations. And there was absolute support. DO: I don`t think it happened as well in public as the government thought. DO: It was like, “Wow, are we really going to do this?” But we had a lot of confidence that it was the right thing to do, in part because of Rosalee`s leadership. .