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Manitoba nurses overwhelmingly voted to go on strike as hospitals struggled to maintain up with affected person demand throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

With practically 12,000 votes forged – the best within the historical past of the Manitoba Nurses Union – members voted in favor of the strike, with a median of 98 p.c assist throughout the province’s 5 well being areas, the union mentioned in a press launch on Thursday.

Regardless of these outcomes, union president Darlene Jackson hopes the province will comply with binding arbitration and avert labor motion.

“We don’t need any interruptions to work. We expect that is utterly pointless, however we really feel cornered by employers,” Jackson mentioned in an interview.

The nurses union has been unable to return to an settlement with the province regardless of assembly with the federal government greater than 30 instances since October, the union mentioned in its press launch.

Her contract expired 4 years in the past, and since then the price of residing has elevated 7.9 p.c, the assertion mentioned.

The most important sticking level within the negotiations, based on the union, was caregiver recruitment and retention, which the pandemic made worse.

Binding arbitration requests from the union have been denied by the province, Jackson mentioned.

When requested about his response to the strike vote on Thursday, Prime Minister Brian Pallister mentioned the federal government would proceed to barter however not by means of the media.

He was additionally requested what contingency plans the federal government has to cope with a strike if it does.

“It will not come to that, I do not suppose so. I do not suppose the nurses need that,” Pallister mentioned.

The federal government just lately pledged practically $ 2 million in money and grants as an incentive for individuals to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

When requested if it could have been higher to present well being staff a elevate as a substitute, Pallister mentioned Manitoba already spends extra per capita than another province on well being, schooling and social companies.

The province plans to go a invoice this fall that can make adjustments to the Labor Relations Change Act that can take away the necessity for binding arbitration following a 60-day dispute between a union and an employer that would result in indefinite strikes and lockouts .

Vote on strike comes as hospitals have been overwhelmed by needy COVID-19 sufferers and dozens of Manitoba sufferers have been flown to different provinces to make room.

Though the vote doesn’t essentially imply a strike, the union now has permission from its members to name a strike.

Within the occasion of a strike, sufferers in Manitoba will proceed to be cared for by nurses. As an alternative, nurses would take turns refusing to carry out non-essential duties similar to answering telephones or transcribing medical orders that day, Jackson mentioned.

“I hope that this authorities and these employers see that the absolute best consequence right here for sufferers and nurses, in addition to for the well being system and for employers, is thru an arbitration course of,” she mentioned.

The union represents greater than 12,000 nurses within the province.

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