FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 7, 2023
Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador sign 4-year retention and stabilization contract with Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s, NL – Late Friday, August 4, 2023 the Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador (RNU) signed a 4-year retention and stabilization contract with government on behalf of all Registered Nurses (RN) and Nurse Practitioners (NP).
“RNs and NPs have been on the frontlines holding things together, while being without a contract since June 2022. They have shown up and they have delivered excellent health care,” said Yvette Coffey, President of RNU. “I am proud to have brought their concerns forward and to have delivered a good contract that provides a stable foundation to build a better healthcare system that recognizes, values, and supports our members.”
The contract delivers an adjusted and improved salary step system for RNs and an entirely new salary grid and step system for NPs. This translates to an immediate salary increase for both RNs and NPs.
“I am appreciative of Ministers Coady, Osborne, and Premier Furey, who have demonstrated a willingness to work with us to deliver a contract that demonstrates a commitment to RNs and NPs, which will have a positive impact on the delivery of care to the people of NL,” said Coffey.
On signing, members will receive a $2000 signing bonus, and full-time permanent members will receive an additional annual bonus of $5000 for each year of the contract.
Other incentives include a long-term service premium that recognizes the many years of dedication by members of RNU. Under the terms of the agreement members will also see a 2% increase in salary for each of the four years of the contract.
Another significant win in the contract was the negotiation of a separate salary grid for NPs that place them on par with the rest of Atlantic Canada. RNU was also able to negotiate fairer compensation for work completing MAID.
“Our NPs have the largest scope of practice in all the country. They provide invaluable work and help alleviate pressures in our ERs, Primary health care, Long-term care, Community health, and in-patient services,” said Coffey. “NPs told us compensation was the number one priority for this round of bargaining and I am pleased we were able to deliver.”
Despite the gains made in this contract, there are still areas demanding immediate attention from government.
“There remains a high level of concern about safety in the workplace. Every second day a RN or NP is making a claim to workers compensation for injuries sustained on the job,” said Coffey. “People must be safe at work.”
Healthcare workers face the highest incidence of violence in the workplace. RNU continues to work with Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour (NLFL) and other healthcare unions to push for a Health Sector Safety Council. There are 750 RN/NP vacancies, as well as a shortage of other healthcare providers, including LPNs, Family Physicians, Respiratory Therapists, Social Workers, Psychologists, etc. RNU is working with government and employers to ensure a stable workforce for our healthcare system.
Other areas identified as needing more attention include improving the work-life balance of RNs and NP, supporting Nurse Practitioners and their ability to lead Community Care Teams, and a concrete, definitive move away from private agency nursing to real, stable investment in public healthcare.
“RNs and NPs have voted over 80% in favour of this contract. I am appreciative of the confidence members have put into their union, and I am proud of the negotiating team. We have a foundation on which to strengthen our workplaces and the public healthcare system.”
The Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador represents more than 5,800 registered nurses and nurse practitioners working in acute care, long-term care, community, education, and research.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador
Tel: (709) 691-6890
Backgrounder to RNUNL Collective Agreement
The new collective agreement ratified by RNs and NPs of the Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador (RNU) is a stabilization and retention contract.
It provides improved compensation for all members of RNU regardless of classification. It also provides an additional premium and incentives for years of service for permanent employees.
While there is a general 2%-2%-2%-2% increase for salaries over the life of the contract, this is the first time our union has been able to negotiate both a change in step progression with a lateral move to the new scale and a new classification for some of its members.
It is important to note, as demonstrated later in this backgrounder, salary increases will be significantly more than 8% for members.
All members of RNU will receive a $2000 signing bonus pro-rated based on regular full-time hours worked during the previous twelve months.
All permanent full-time members will receive an annual bonus of $5000 for each year of the contract.
In addition to the signing bonuses offered in this new collective agreement, permanent part-time and permanent full-time members will receive a long-service premium based upon the number of years of service.
RNs and NPs are eligible for this premium at 15 years, 20 years, and 25 years for their service as a permanent employee in the public healthcare system in Newfoundland and Labrador.
|Years of Service
|1% of current salary
|1% of current salary for 15 years’ service + 2% of salary
|1% of current salary for 15 years’ service + 2% of salary for 20 years’ service + 2%
This premium is compounded.
Salary Adjustment and Implementation
In this collective agreement, RNU has negotiated more than the salary increases of 2%-2%-2%-2% over a 4-year deal.
In addition to the 2% yearly increase in salary, RNU has negotiated an adjustment to the step system that eliminates the bottom two steps of the salary grid and adds two new steps at the top. All employees will then make a lateral move to the same step on the new grid. This means at least an 8.8% increase in salaries on signing.
On top of the adjustment of the salary steps, RNU has also negotiated a separate salary grid for NPs. At time of signing, this puts NPs on par with the rest of Atlantic Canada. It means at least a 10.7% increase in salaries on signing.
RNU is appreciative of the willingness of this current government to recognize the value of our members and to provide better compensation to retain and stabilize the nursing profession.
Under the terms, members will receive salary increases effective:
- July 1, 2022 – 2% (to be paid retroactive from date of signing)
- July 1, 2023 – 2% (to be paid retroactive from date of signing)
- July 1, 2024 – 2%
- July 1, 2025 – 2%
Under the terms of this new collective agreement, a RN, before date of signing who made $81,217.50 annually will now earn $91,939.44 annually once you factor in the 2% for 2022 and 2023 as well as the updated salary grid. This represents an increase of 13.2%.
When you add the long-service premium to the compensation, the salary for the RN example above becomes:
15 years’ service: $92,858.83
20 years’ service: $94,716.01
25 years’ service: $96,610.33
Under the terms of this new collective agreement, an NP, before date of signing who made $105,339.00 annually will now earn $121,630.25 annually once you factor in the 2% for 2022 and 2023 as well as the updated salary grid and the additional 2%. This represents an increase of 15.4%.
When you add the long-service premium to the compensation, the salary for the NP example above becomes:
15 years’ service: $122,846.55
20 years’ service: $125,303.48
25 years’ service: $127,809.55
Additional compensation for NPs
Some NPs have been completing medical assistance in dying (MAID) without compensation. Under the terms of this agreement, NPs who act as a first assessor in MAID will receive double their hourly rate for each hour worked outside of their regular work hours up to a maximum of 5 hours.
NPs who act as second assessor will receive double their hourly rate for each hour worked outside of their regular work hours up to a maximum of 4 hours.
NPs who complete MAID will receive double their hourly rate for each hour worked outside of their regular work hours up to a maximum of 5 hours.
This is a stabilization and retention contract. It represents a foundation on which RNU can build more improvements for the nursing profession and health care in our province.
Though this agreement offers better compensation to RNU members for their work, there is still much work to be done.
Outstanding issues include:
- Improving work-life balance for all members, including those who are working casual due to lack of supports such as childcare spaces in the province;
- Addressing ongoing issues around violence in the workplace experienced by our members;
- Providing a safe working environment;
- Eliminating the use of private agency nurses in our public health care system;
- Reclassification of NPs;
- Addressing the 750 RN/NP vacancies through continued engagement with Gov and employers.
RNU has already begun the process of resolving these issues with the government. We are fully committed to creating the best possible workplace for our members while working with the government to resolve the ongoing systemic problems that plague our healthcare system. We believe that by working together we can deliver sustainable and comprehensive healthcare to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.