The FIQ (Fédération interprofessionelle de la santé du Québec) is the union representing nurses and related health care professionals in the province of Quebec. Early in 2010 the union was entering the final phase of negotiations with the provincial government – and things were going nowhere fast.
What didn’t the nurses care for? Principally their deteriorating working conditions and the fact that hospitals were turning to healthcare employment agencies for part-time nurses instead of hiring full-time staff. A stop-gap solution that was costly both in terms or money and the quality of health care.
But what to do? The general public was unaware of the problem and union members unaware of how to fix it.
Upperkut wanted to be part of the cure, not part of the problem. One major step: a striking 30-second spot where we find a hard-faced man at a call centre in bleak, decrepit surroundings, sounding like a taxi dispatcher, but in fact dispatching…nurses.
Other steps in the cure.
Creating a Facebook page that nurses and those friendly to the cause could rally around, filled with original content and news in the form of press reviews to stimulate discussions. And stimulate it did. The Facebook page took off like a rocket and to this day counts over 13,000 fans. The campaign was also adapted for outdoor advertising, bus sides and newspaper print ads, in English and French.
Taking the cure to a whole new level.
Union members, members of other unions and the general public really started getting behind the cause. A survey a few months after the campaign indicated that 80% of Quebecers supported the nurses’ stand. And startlingly, 70% wanted money spent on private sector nurses be redirected and used to hire full-time staff – an issue none of them had ever heard two months before.
The government finally agreed to a contract improving nursing conditions that also agreed to reduce the number of part-time nurses by half over the next two years (needs to be confirmed). So the FIQ and its nurses are in better health than they’ve been in for years.