The BC Nurses Union says new contract negotiations with the Health Employers Association of BC can be a once-in-a-generation chance to make health care better for nurses and patients.
The BCNU says its bargaining team opened the talks with first-hand accounts of the impact the nurse staffing crisis is having on nurses, both professionally and personally.
The union says nurses want a contract that recognizes their hard work, their value as professionals, and will address their dire working conditions.
BCNU President Aman Grewal says the talks are an opportunity to make health care better for nurses and for patients, and be an example for governments and nurses across the country.
Grewal says the health-care crisis affects every patient and nurse in the province and they hope to negotiate solutions that will prevent the levels of breakdown seen over the past few years.
The BCNU says at a conference in October, nurses indicated they are prepared to strike for improved staffing levels, better nurse-to-patient ratios, safety improvements, fair pay, and work-life balance initiatives.
The union says it is critical the negotiations focus on recruitment and retention strategies and the need to make workplaces more inclusive.
The BCNU represents more than 48,000 nurses and allied health workers in the province.