Weighing in on Tuesday's wildcat nurses' strike in Halifax

Kaylynn Paynter, For Metro Halifax
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Halifax-area nurses arriving at the Nova Scotia Legislature on Tuesday morning.

METRO HALIFAX

Carol Kowcon believes Halifax-area nurses made the right choice with their decision to not show up to work on Tuesday morning.

“Good for them, somebody’s gotta be on the front lines,” Kowcon said while walking past the Halifax Infirmary Tuesday afternoon. “I mean, how important are nurses? Come on, get sick and you’ll find out.”

The Nova Scotia Government Employees Union (NSGEU) and its nurses, who were ordered back to work by the Labour Board, are in a legal-strike position as of Thursday as contract talks continue to stall between them and Capital Health.

But the union says dozens of nurses didn’t show up to work Tuesday after the province introduced essential services legislation on Monday night.

This didn’t sit well with some residents in Halifax.

“I probably would have waited until Thursday,” Randy Hamilton said of the illegal walkout. “Then it would’ve been a legal strike.”

Social media was ablaze with comments from the public after news hit of the illegal strike. And it seemed to be a split down the middle for support between Capital Health and the nurses.

Karen Marie calls the nurse’s decision to want to strike mind boggling.

“Nurses are essential to the quality of care a patient receives,” she said in a comment on Metro Halifax’s Facebook page. “Why would they jeopardize the safety of patients if that’s what they’re fighting for in the first place?”

Kelinda Hogue Sloan, another commenter on Metro’s page, had a slightly different stance.

“Nursing staff are not heading to the picket line recklessly,” she said in her comment. “There is no lack of foresight on their part. The system is over loaded and understaffed.”

Others, like Murray Sherman, remained on the fence.

“I fully support our government’s position that nurses are an essential service and should not be allowed to go on strike,” read Sherman’s post. “I also fully support the nurses themselves as I’ve seen them in action and know the job they do is nothing short of super human.”

he effects of Tuesday’s job action have been felt beyond the borders of Capital Health. A number of surgeries werecancelled in Annapolis Valley Health and further impacts on provincial health services are expected. 

With files from Haley Ryan and TC Media

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