Ruling will curb use of temp agencies in public sector: union

Therapists from placement agency must be in hospital’s union, says board

Quebec’s largest nurses’ union says they believe a ruling made by the Quebec Labour Board will deter hospitals’ practice of using private nursing agencies to staff its needs.

The Inter-Professional Health Federation (FIQ) filed a grievance with the board in October 2009 against Montreal’s Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital for using two private nursing placement agencies to staff part of its operating room. The union requested that the board acknowledge the 21 respiratory therapists whose services it obtained from private agencies were the same as the hospital's full-time staff. In turn, the union argued the hospital had actually hired these workers and that they should be unionized.

In last week’s ruling, the board said the therapists need to be declared part of the FIQ.

“The agencies in question, despite their solid organizational structure and their efforts to develop ties with the (employees) on their lists, essentially remain a place of transit for health professionals,” writes board vice-president Irene Zaikoff in the ruling.

The FIQ, which represents which represents 58,000 nurses and other health staff across the province, says this is just one example of the private health services sector enticing health professionals away from the public sector.

The decision currently only applies to the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, but FIQ president Regine Laurent is urging Health Minister Yves Bolduc to immediately apply the ruling to all the province’s hospitals.

Laurent says the union will continue to file grievances to prevent the private sector from using health-care professionals from the public sector and that this ruling can be used as a precedent for the two dozen grievances currently filed with the board.

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