An arbitrator has ruled that a Parksville nurse was unjustly disciplined by her employer for speaking out on the state of seniors’ care at a public meeting last year.
According to a news release from the Hospital Employees’ Union, the operators of Stanford Place suspended Tina Irvine for six shifts without pay after she spoke out at a January, 2012 public forum co-sponsored by the HEU and the Oceanside Coalition for Strong Communities.
Attempts by The NEWS to get comment from Stanford Place officials on the ruling were unsuccessful.
Irvine’s observations at the forum about the impact of wage cuts on staff morale and resident care were reported in a local newspaper, and she was suspended shortly afterward.
At the time, Irvine served as secretary-treasurer for the HEU local at Stanford Place where she is employed as a licensed practical nurse.
HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson said that Irvine’s suspension was a completely outrageous attempt to intimidate local union activists from speaking out.
“Despite employer intimidation, our members will continue to speak out on behalf of their residents and patients,” Pearson said in the HEU news release..
“I know that Tina and her co-workers appreciate the support they received from the local community through this incident.”
In his decision, arbitrator Christopher Sullivan upheld a union grievance claiming that Irvine was unjustly disciplined and ordered Stanford Place to pay her the wages lost for the period of her suspension.
HEU says it represents about 200 workers at Stanford Place.
— NEWS Staff/HEU news release