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The RPNs, who work in Osler’s obstetrics and pediatrics units, collectively have 351 years of experience, skills and dedication in their jobs providing front line care to their community.  Their work includes bedside care, dressing and cleaning wounds, counseling, performing IVs and collecting blood. 

But the hospital has unilaterally decided to move these workers, some with over 30 years experience, out-the-door to other departments in the hospital.  The hospital is poised to replace these experienced workers with Registered Nurses, fresh out of school.

No way, says Irv Poirier, President of CUPE 145, the RPNs’ union, speaking to about 75 RPNs and their supporters.

“We used to work as a team here at William Osler!” Poirer said.  “Now, after 30 years, they’re telling us we don’t know our own jobs?  Shame!  Our backs are against wall, and we’re going to fight this, right to the end!”

Poirier hopes that management will reverse its decision.  “We need to work alongside Registered Nurses, and we will continue to do so – as a team.”

RPN Liz Beamish told the crowd that she and others are tired of being treated shabbily by management, telling the crowd that, in a meeting, management even compared the RPNs to old cigarettes.

“It’s too bad that upper management doesn’t understand the quality of care they get from us,” Beamish said. 

The RPNs were buoyed by the turnout.  “We knew we were backed up,” Beamish said.  The crowd of 75 was made up of RPNs from Osler and nearby Etobicoke’s Credit Valley Hospital, as well as other workers, friends and family members. 

Deb Vernon, from Credit Valley, was clear about why she was there.  She says they face similar management tactics at her workplace.  “If we don’t stop it here, we’re next,” she said, marching determinedly with her colleagues. 

So, beware!  RPNs are fighting for the respect that is their due.  {click to see photographs }