Canadian nurses prepare for Global Day of Action

On September 17, nurses across Canada and around the world will be acting together in the first Global Nurses United (GNU) coordinated day of action. This event is part of a larger Global Day of Action which nurses are acting in solidarity with.

There are 10 countries, including Canada, where actions are planned by nurses, with more expected to join.

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions is a founding member of the GNU. GNU is joining forces worldwide for Global Day of Action to speak out on the Millennium Development Goals, plus to defend patients’ safety and workers’ rights around the world. The CFNU is aligning its efforts with the new campaign launched by the Canadian Labour Congress, together FAIRNESS WORKS, to show solidarity with this exciting new global network.

Through social media, you can be involved and show your support, even if you cannot join an event on September 17.

September 17, 2013, has been declared a Global Day of Action and nurses are again on the frontlines. Why? Is it because of ongoing world poverty or that millions of citizens go without proper health services?

Regardless, unionized nurses around the world are taking action through Global Nurses United (GNU), an exciting new network that formed this year. From Rio to Washington, from Sydney to Calgary, nurses will be speaking out in the media, at rallies and using social media to advocate for social justice.

On June 22, 2013, leaders of 14 national nurses unions, including the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions President, Linda Silas, and United Nurses of Alberta Vice-President, Jane Sustrik, launched the plan for a new international nurses’ organization to step up the fight against the harmful effects of austerity measures that are putting people and communities at risk across the planet.

Global Nurses United provides organizations from the endorsing countries the ability to work collectively to guarantee the highest standards of universal health care as a human right for all and to secure safe patient care, especially regarding safe nurse-patient ratios.

GNU is unified in opposition to the adverse effects of income inequality, poverty, attacks on public workers and the ravages of climate change. GNU members are strong supporters of the Millennium Development Goals but are demanding immediate action and this means nurses need to speak up now!

As members of Global Nurses United, the CFNU will be active on this day of global action, working under the umbrella of the CLC’s together FAIRNESS WORKS campaign.

We work together because we all believe in the old saying: “What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all.”

Through social media, you can tell  your friends and followers what is happening on September 17th, as well  as connect with nurses around the world who will also be following, posting and tweeting their support.

You  can send a tweet, retweet others, ‘like’ posts or pages on Facebook or post links  to interesting items or the GNU Facebook page.

 Did  you know that…

 …the CLC have found that, on average, unionized workers in Canada earn $4.97 an hour more than do other, non-union workers. That extra money in the pockets of the country’s 4.67 million unionized employees translates into an added $785.8 million every week paid into the national economy.

 Did  you know that…

…in Canada, women who belong to unions earn an average of $6.61  an hour more than do women in non- unionized workplaces. Young workers aged 15 to 29  earn an additional $5.53 an hour if they belong to unions.

Did  you know that…

…Canada falls  in the bottom three of the world’s richest countries for  the number of paid vacation days workers are entitled to.

…the International Labour Organization recommends that the period of paid vacation shall in no case be less than three working weeks for  one year of service.

…all provinces, except Saskatchewan, allow for  only 2 weeks of paid vacation to employees covered by  labour standards.


When workers stand up together for  fairness … unionized workers get more paid time off  and more paid vacation time for  a better work-life balance.

Did  you know that…

…workplace illness, injuries, and fatalities are not a thing of the past? Every day, nearly 5 Canadians die  from work-related illness and injury.

Did  you know that…

…nurses have nearly twice the rate of absenteeism of all other occupations, and the highest of any health care occupations. And just for  nurses the cost of sick  leave is $734.3M a year. Yes 18,900 canadian nurses are absent from work every week due to illness or disability in 2012.

When workers stand up together for  fairness… we have safer workplaces.

Did  you know that…

…workers didn’t just demand dignity in retirement for themselves. We demanded public pensions for  all Canadians, whether in paid work or not. Workers fought for  and won Old  Age Security in 1952,  the Canada Pension Plan in 1965,  and the Guaranteed Income Supplement in 1966.  Together, this country’s public pensions are responsible for  Canada having one of the lowest old-age poverty rates in the industrialized world.

When workers stand up together for  fairness…

…they negotiate secure workplace-sponsored pension plans.

But  the best way to help all workers save enough money for  tomorrow is by  increasing what everybody gets from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) as a share of their total retirement income. Which is why we’re proposing that over the next several years we  lay  the foundation to double CPP  benefits for the future.

Did  you know that…

…research links  a direct impact between nurse staffing and patient outcomes.  Some international studies say: an increased risk  of death occurred in departments that are frequently staffed below the recommended standard, or on units where there is a high patient turnover.

When workers stand up together for  fairness…

…nurses unions negotiate safe staffing measures such as nurse-patient ratios, and then we  see lower burnouts, higher job  satisfaction and better quality of care.

September 17 Draft List  of  Actions

Australia, Queensland. The  QNU  will do workplace actions at hospitals across the state on  the September 17, linking to the global demands. They will also publish ads in newspapers in Queensland, on  the vital role of nurses and midwives in providing universal health care. They will hold a tree-planting ceremony at the union’s Brisbane office to mark the first GNU Day  of Action.

Australia, NewSouth Wales. The  NSWNMA will hold two rallies in Sydney for mandatory, minimum nurse-patient ratios and against austerity.

Canada. The CFNU  and United Nurses of Alberta will hold a rally  in Calgary, focused on  stopping attempts by the government to impose cutbacks in the health care system and launch a member-to-member social media campaign.

Costa Rica.  ANPE  will hold a rally  on  September 17 at their labor tribunal to demand nurses’ rights to collectively bargain and to strike and will then deliver a demand to the government to fully  fund public health care for  the people of Costa Rica.

DominicanRepublic. SINATRAE will be staging two actions – one in Santo Domingo and another in Santiago – focused on  demands to the government to increase the budget for  public health and respect the dignity of nurses through collective bargaining agreements.

Guatemala. STSTG  will be staging mobilizations around the country, with the biggest in Guatemala City,  making a demand for  a Robin Hood Tax and against austerity.

Honduras. ANEEAH is planning picket lines at every hospital in the country and will hold a major mobilization/picket line  in front of the government house in Tegucigalpa. The  demands on  the government include improving patient care in the public hospitals, hiring more nurses, fully funding the nurses’ pensions and paying their wages.

Ireland. INMO will issue a press statement focused on  stopping austerity and linking it to GNU global day of action, and will take a photo of their executive council taking action.

Philippines. The  Alliance of Health Workers, together with allied health organizations, will have a sizeable mass action in the morning of September 17, in front of the WHO Western Pacific Regional Headquarters in Manila, to demand health care for  all.

South Korea. On  September 17, KHMU is planning an action, in their campaign to save the Jinju Medical Center, the fight against austerity and for  the rights of health workers.

The  United States. NNU is planning a major demonstration in New York  City, demanding an end to austerity policies and passage of the Robin Hood Tax, starting at the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza across the street from the United Nations. They will march from the UN to the world headquarters of JP Morgan Chase, one of the largest investment banks in the world, then to the New York City  Metropolitan Transit Authority (which has been cutting service and cutting workers), then to the State University of New York  to demand that they stop closing hospitals in the city, and concluding in Bryant Park. Thus far,  35  unions, community groups, HIV-AIDS  groups, student groups, and others have endorsed the march and will be mobilizing people to attend.


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