Profile: Mike Mearns travelled around the world before coming to Calgary and beginning to look for a steady job and career. He attended Mount Royal College where he graduated from the nursing program in June 1975.Mearns had previous experience in unionized workplaces and quickly sought out the union. He and nurse Bob Donahue, a Metis who believed that nurses, like his people, were treated oppressively, regarded their staff association as ineffective in representing them effectively. That caused both men to advocate a militant unionism for nurses that became instrumental in creating the United Nurses of Alberta.
Mearns became a Labour Relations Officer for the United Nurses of Alberta whose role made him active in job actions and advocacy of nurses’ interests. With extensive knowledge of UNA’s history as a member, leader, and union staffer, Mearns provides a unique perspective on the history of nursing in the province of Alberta. He recounts important information from the strikes of 1977, 1980, 1982, and 1988.
Keywords: Bob Donahue; Colonel Belcher Hospital; Labour Relations Officer; Holy Cross Hospital; Nursing strikes of 1977, 1980, 1982, 1988; Psychic wages; Staff Nurses Association; Staff Nurse Division; UNA history.
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