Manitoba Nurses Union files grievance over ‘unsafe conditions’ outside the Health Sciences Centre

The Manitoba Nurses Union has filed a grievance with Shared Health about unsafe conditions in the parking areas at a Winnipeg hospital.

In a letter obtained by 680 CJOB, the union said it has heard from many nurses about safety concerns. It goes on to state that safety is an issue in the parkade’s surface lots and the surrounding outdoor campus area of the Health Sciences Centre.

The union said it’s collecting information from nurses about incidents of vandalism, car break-ins, threatening behaviour or any event where an employee has felt unsafe.

A grievance arbitration is set to be heard early next month.

Darlene Jackson, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union, told Global News that the grievance letter had been brewing for a long time. She added that nurses are seeing a “real escalation in safety issues” and violence in and around the hospital. The concerns brought forward by nurses, she said, aren’t being followed up by actions.

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“You just come to a point where you (feel) ‘I’ve talked enough. I’m not seeing any action,’” said Jackson. “We just felt that we had no choice but to start filing grievances on this.”

Talking about the specific incidents she and others have seen, Jackson noted there have been instances of vehicles being vandalized and the windows of a nurse’s car broken. It doesn’t help that the cost of parking is an issue she said nurses have to also contend with.

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“My hope is that we can reach an agreement with the employer to ensure that staff are safe. They have an obligation to keep their staff safe… I would rather work in a more collaborative way and find some type of solution. If that doesn’t happen, then we will go through with the arbitration process and an arbitrator will make the decision,” said Jackson.

How to keep safe

Self-defence instructor at Plum Blossom Martial Arts Academy, Tammy Bridgelall, told 680 CJOB that it takes preparation to keep safe.

“I prepare for war when I go to and from my car, just to be aware and just be as safe as I can,” said Bridgelall. “Everywhere I go. Not just at work but (also) to the mall, even the grocery store… the more you do it, it just becomes innate.”

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According to Bidgelall, staying aware is key to staying safe.

“Don’t have your phone out. Have your hands open, if possible,” she said. Other tips include making eye contact, being loud, and constantly moving. When asked about weapons, however, she said it isn’t always a great thing as it can end up being used against the victim.

Instead, the instructor recommended making space and keeping boundaries. That, she noted, provides enough time for a person to leave a dangerous or risky situation.

As for ways to prevent car break-ins, she advised not having anything in a parked or unattended car.

Click to play video: 'No charges to be laid in Forks parkade homicide, Winnipeg police say'

No charges to be laid in Forks parkade homicide, Winnipeg police say

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