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N.S. nurse claims he was ‘abruptly fired’ for bringing up unionization. Facility says ‘none of that’s true’

Click to play video: 'People in Truro rallied in support of fired practical nurse' People in Truro rallied in support of fired practical nurse
WATCH: The nurse says he was fired because he brought up forming a union, but his boss says, that’s not so and if the staff of the nursing home want to unionize she would support it. Alexa MacLean has more. – Mar 5, 2021
Tevin Crawford said he ‘loved’ his job as a licensed practical nurse [LPN] working at a residential and long-term care facility in Truro, N.S.

He talked about having a good relationship with management, which was why why he felt he was well-suited to approach his administrator about unionizing – a move he felt was worthy of pursuing after hearing of workplace concerns from his fellow colleagues at Wynn Park Villa.

“About how people had been let go. How people had been wrongly treated, bullied, their positions changed,” he said.

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The administrator of Wynn Park Villa denies claims that Crawford was fired over union talks and says she is supportive of staff who want to unionize. Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax

READ MORE: Union leaders, advocates urge N.S. government to require minimum care hours in nursing homes

Crawford said shortly after discussing the possibility of forming a union with his administrator last week, he received a phone call on Feb. 26 informing him of his termination.

“She regretted to inform me that I had been terminated from my position from Wynn Park Villa because I was no longer deemed suitable to be a supervisor,” he claimed.

Crawford said he was perplexed by this and pressed her for further information but was stonewalled.

“It was kind of odd that it was a day after I had mentioned the word ‘union,'” he said.

Sheila Peck is the administrator of Wynn Park Villa. In a phone interview Friday, she said Crawford’s firing had nothing to do with him advocating for a union.

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“We had some concerns about his role as a supervisor. So, we gave him his two weeks in lieu of notice. And, then he went to some rant and rave place and said he was fired because he had a conversation with me about being in a union and none of that’s true,” she said.

Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union president, Janet Hazelton, speaks at the rally held in support of Wynn Park Villa employees unionizing. Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has since swooped in to continue Crawford’s advocacy and supported him during a car rally held in the street adjacent to Wynn Park Villa during the noon hour Friday.

Wynn Park Villa is a privately owned facility and had its entrance blocked off during the event.

In a phone conversation with Peck after the rally had ended, she said she has no issues with staff wanting to form a union.

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“If they want to unionize then they should have the choice to do that but they shouldn’t be bullied into it. It should be their own choice and they should be able to make that decision,” Peck said.

READ MORE: CUPE defends representation of licensed practical nurses in New Brunswick

Crawford said he’s been overwhelmed with support from present and past employees of Wynn Park Villa.

“I just hope that the ones that are still in doubt, that are still afraid to step up, will learn to be courageous because this can change,” he said.

Peck reaffirmed her message that Crawford wasn’t fired over wanting to start a union.

“When false information is put out, one-sided information, it’s not really fair to the employees who work hard. Especially, during COVID when our staff, who are wonderful, are working so hard and it’s caused a lot of stress for this disruption,” Peck said.

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