Profile: During a long nursing career, Cecile Sangster-Locker was a union activist who played important roles in all nursing strikes in Alberta to date, in strike support for Calgary laundry workers in 1995, and in campaigns and rallies to protect public medicare. She fought the government’s poor treatment of nurses, but experienced racism as a Black nurse both from managers and patients. Born in Jamaica, Sangster-Locker’s family immigrated to Britain where she studied first to become an RN and then also a midwife. Arriving in Canada in 1967, she honed her nursing skills during 7 years in Ontario before coming to Calgary’s Holy Cross Hospital in 1974. In 1985 she began a decades-long career at Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton. Throughout, she worked in labour and delivery. A self-described rebel, she fought pulling of her unit’s nurses into other areas to deal with shortages. Short staffing remained her key issue as she joined the Staff Nurses Association in 1977 to be a picket captain in that year’s nurses’ strike. When UNA formed, Sangster-Locker was an early activist. She documents how UNA organized in the interests of both nurses and patients in collective bargaining focused on wages, staffing, and Professional Responsibility Committees.
Keywords: Bumping; Grey Nuns Hospital; Holy Cross Hospital; Nurses—experience of assault by patients; Nurses—strikes and economic solidarity; Nursing—racism experienced by nurses of colour; Nursing—understaffing; Professional Responsibility Committees; Staff Nurses’ Association.
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