© Mitch Ward - Metro Halifax
NSGEU union members and their supporters march around the Nova Scotia Legislature.
Halifax-area nurses marched in solidarity with other union members at Province House Wednesday to once again protest the province’s essential services legislation that is poised to pass Friday.
Nurses with the NSGEU are set to go on a legal strike Thursday morning, but the province is expected to pass an essential services bill that could have them back to work as early as Friday.
Mila Warren, a registered nurse with Capital Health, said the government’s decision to legislate them back to work sets a bad precedent.
“This is a dangerous, slippery slope,” she said before joining about 50 other people involved in the protest. “If health care professionals are essential services when they are in a position to strike, who is next?”
Warren said if the government chooses to take away striking as an option, they have to act Thursday while it’s still legal.
“This isn’t about the NSGEU and their employer,” she said. “This is about thousands of health care professionals all across the province unable to bargain effectively with their employer.”
Sue Fancy, a nurse employed at the Victoria General hospital in Halifax, said the original issue was the need for more nurses, the safety of patients and protection for nurses.
“But when Bill 37 came into play, it became bigger than all of us,” she proclaimed of the essential services bill.
Fancy also spoke about the need to protect future nurses because each year she sees fewer young people joining the profession.
“You can’t work like that on a daily basis and go home feeling good about the generations coming up behinds us,” she said. “It’s just going to get worse.”