UNA – Oral Histories

Donna Antsey
Donna Antsey had a long career at the University of Alberta in cardiovascular surgery before becoming a Patient Care Coordinator.

Alan Besecker
Alan Besecker, RN, participated in the merger of the Staff Nurses’ Association of Alberta with the United Nurses of Alberta, and became a member of the UNA negotiating team that was involved in intense bargaining with Ralph Klein’s government in 2001. He is a strong advocate for public healthcare.

Murray Billett
Murray Billett, human rights and trade union activist, educator, and advocate for 2SLGBTQ+ communities, describes his role in the Delwin Vriend case which resulted in legal recognition in Alberta of equality rights based on sexual orientation.

Judith Blakely
Judy Blakely has been a long-time nurse in British Columbia and Alberta as well as a municipal politician in Hinton.

Linda Bridge & Barb Charles

Wendy Brigham
Wendy Brigham had a long nursing career at Rocky View General Hospital beginning in 1980, and of union activism including both local mentoring and solidarity actions with nurses at other facilities.

Marie Campbell
Marie Campbell had a long career in nursing in Saskatchewan and Edmonton , during which she participated in 5 strikes and became a Ward Rep who mentored new nurses coming into her workplace. 

Laurie Coates

Jennifer Cory
Jennifer Cory, an RN and new graduate, exemplified leadership early in her career, recognizing that all nurses have the responsibility to advocate for patient safety, regardless of their years of work experience.

Karen Craik
Karen Craik is the Secretary-Treasurer of the United Nurses of Alberta, a position held since 1996. She has a long history with UNA, from their founding in 1977 to the present day, protecting nurses’ rights and our healthcare system.

Lisa Dubbeldam
Lisa Dubbeldam’s work in community nursing caused her to become an advocate for full assessments and adequate staffing to support the needs of her patients.

Marg Ethier

Dewey Funk
Dewey Funk describes nurses’ struggles against management in their efforts to secure safe working conditions in Alberta hospitals and the Edmonton Remand Centre.

Tanya George
Tanya George has made community health nursing, with emphasis on the relationship between family health and the health of entire communities, the focus of her nursing career.

Laurie Lang
Laurie Lang, RN, RPN, served as president of the Alberta Hospital Edmonton local where he was particularly active on Occupational Health and Safety issues.

Barb LeBlanc
Barb LeBlanc, a Registered ICU Nurse and former Staff Nurses Association of Alberta (SNAA) president, used the Professional Responsibility process to challenge changes affecting the effectiveness of nurses in fulfilling their roles, and helped bring SNAA into UNA in 1997 to better fight for nurses and patients.

Jerry Macdonald
Jerry Macdonald, a former president of CARNA, transferred out of hospital nursing to community nursing because understaffing at a time of increased patient acuity and demands on hospital nurses made his ICU work unbearable.

Lee McNiven
Lee McNiven is a long-time union activist who was UNA vice-president of Local 121, Colonel Belcher Hospital, in Calgary, at the time of her interview.

Mike Mearns
Mike Mearns, RN, played a key role in the creation of UNA and served as one of its initial labour relations officers.

Arlene Moreside
Arlene Moreside explains why the provincial UNA strike in 1988 proved a pivotal event in achieving gains in the area of occupational health and safety. 

Noreen Olmstead

Susan Parcels

Trudy Richardson

Linda Roberts
Linda Roberts was president of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Staff Nurses’ Association when she became a founding member of UNA in 1977.

Louise Rogers
Louise Rogers, RN, played a leading role in the merger of the Staff Nurses’ Association and UNA that made UNA the representative of all nurses in Alberta.

Cecile Sangster-Locker
Cecile Sangster-Locker is an RN and midwife who played important roles in all the nursing strikes in Alberta to date. 

Beryl L. Scott
Beryl Scott, RN, has been a lifelong advocate for equal treatment for marginalized groups within the healthcare system and society in general.

Michelle Senkow
Michelle Senkow is a long-time Maternal Child Care nurse throughout Alberta who became active in UNA and serves as a mentor to other nurses.

Heather Smith

Anna Sokolawski
Anna Sokolawski was, at the time of her interview, a new graduate nurse, who was discovering the impact of nursing shortages on both her own, and patient, safety.

Aman Takhar
Aman Takhar, RN, credits the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) union leadership and solidarity for ensuring that nurses’ voices are heard at level where policy change can be made.

Constance Thomas
Constance Thomas is a veteran nurse, midwife, and UNA activist who has experienced many instances of racism in both her work and community lives, including denials of promotions at work.

Karen Three Persons
Karen Three Persons is a veteran Indigenous nurse and UNA local president, who has managed training programmes for Elders’ care and home care.

Jennifer Ward
Jennifer Ward is a long-time registered nurse on the psychiatric unit of the Grande Prairie Hospital where she, as a local UNA executive member, has fought for nurses’ rights to refuse unsafe work.

Keith Wiley

Donna Wilson