Quebec's health minister was hoping to reassure unions about the future of the MUHC’s administration with a series of emergency meetings Thursday.

The meetings came days after half of the MUHC board of directors resigned, saying they could not work with Gaetan Barrette.

Barrette met with three unions representing employees and with members of the various committees at the hospitals on the Glen Site in hopes of both reassuring them and listening to them.

Representatives met him at his downtown offices to talk over some of the issues, including a major increase in employees on sick leave due to burnout and stress.

"They are overwhelmed," said Denyse Joseph of the nurses' union. "Something has to be done quickly."

She said the unions pleaded with Barrette for more resources.

Earlier this week the nurses' union said it was growing concerned that patient care would be affected by the walkout.

Union representatives said the minister spent a lot of time painting a portrait of the MUHC budget and how it needs to be met.

Meanwhile Manuel Fernandez, interim president of the CSN's union at the MUHC, told Barrette how they want representatives from each of the unions on the board of directors.

"We represent nearly 10,000 employees and there should be a permanent representative for these employees on the board," said Fernandez.

Barrette has the power to appoint board members under the regulations set out by Bill 10.

Two representatives from the patients’ committee, including Seeta Ramdass, said Barrette met with them for 90 minutes and that they felt he really did listen to their concerns.

"We want a leader who is going to be putting the patients first. That has to be a patient-centred leader who comes in to take over, who is fiscally responsible who understands that 21st-century medicine has to be practiced with cultural sensitivity and cultural care because we are culturally diverse as patients," said Ramdass.

Barrette told the unions that if the new board can show him resources are needed, perhaps he can allot additional money.

“I hope he’s open enough to give it to us. I hope that the changes and the reforms he wants to implement – I hope he allows the representation of the workers on the board. I think that’s key,” said Fernandez.

Barrette said he expeccts to have a new board in place by the end of the summer.