AUPE members are joining in the celebrations for National Laboratory Week, taking place from April 21 to 27.

This year, the union is proud to sponsor week-long celebratory events and activities at the University of Alberta Hospital.

“Medical lab workers are essential to the public health care Albertans rely on,” said Bonnie Gostola, AUPE Vice-President and Chair of the union’s Anti-Privatization Committee. “They often work behind the scenes, relying on their expertise in chemistry, toxicology, immunology, and more to provide life-saving information and test results.”

“Many of these workers are AUPE members, and National Medical Laboratory Week is our opportunity to show them how thankful we are for all they do.”

According to Gostola, National Laboratory Week came at just the right time.

“We are deeply concerned by the newly elected UCP’s pledge to further privatize lab services, as well as their dismissal of lab workers as not part of the front-lines in health care,” said Gostola.

In fact, the UCP’s election victory has halted progress of the Edmonton “Super lab,” which had already begun construction. Cancelling the much-needed public laboratory hub could put the health care needs of thousands of Albertans at risk, but doing so was a key UCP election promise.

Gostola noted that this goes against the Health Quality Council of Alberta’s 2016 report on lab services, which recommended the best way to move forward with lab services was through a public delivery model.

Why? Because privatized lab services has been tried and failed before.

“We went through this with the last conservative government, but Albertans pushed back and made it clear we needed to keep labs public,” said Gostola.

“Let’s celebrate Alberta’s lab workers today, and commit to having their backs in the future. They fight every day to keep us healthy, and we’re ready to fight for them.”