The union representing 11,400 Canadian nurses in the host province for next month's Winter Olympic Games began an illegal strike, forcing most of Alberta's 100 hospitals to close to all but emergency patients. Members of the United Nurses of Alberta began the strike after last-ditch contract negotiations with the Alberta Hospital Assn. failed. The nurses, prohibited from striking under a 1983 law governing Alberta's hospital workers, are seeking more money and the right to negotiate concerns about professional responsibility and safety. In Calgary, host city for the Games that start Feb. 13, hospitals discharged 1,000 patients.
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