AUPE slams decision to charge workers and visitors as pandemic surges
EDMONTON – Bringing back parking fees for health-care workers in the midst of a surging pandemic is a slap in the face to employees risking their lives to come to work, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).
“This is just so tone deaf, so thoughtless,” says Karen Weiers, vice-president of AUPE, which represents more than 95,000 workers, including more than 58,000 in health care.
“On Thursday, the Alberta government reported that 1,041 health-care workers had been infected with COVID-19, an increase of 11 on the day before. There were 76 new cases across the province that day and 121 new case the day before,” she says.
“The risk our members face is real and as the province proceeds with its reopening, that risk is going to grow. It was the right decision to cancel those parking fees when the pandemic was declared. It is wrong to reimpose those fees now,” says Weiers.
“To ask employees to come to work to care for sick Albertans and then pick their pockets for parking fees is unfathomable.”
In a message to staff, Alberta Health Services (AHS) says reinstating parking fees for workers on August 31 and for members of the public on Sept. 1 is “part of a return to business.”
“This should not be about business, it should be about care and about what’s best for Albertans, both for those working in care facilities and for everyday Albertans visiting patients,” says Weiers.
“If Alberta can afford to give billions of dollars in tax giveaways to already profitable corporations, it can afford to cancel parking fees. You’ll get a better return on covering the cost of parking than we’ve seen from the massive tax-giveaways, which have cost billions of dollars and failed to create the jobs the government promised.”
Karen Weiers is available for interviews.
For more information, please contact: Terry Inigo-Jones, Communications Officer 403-831-4394