LETHBRIDGE – The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is condemning Alberta Health Services' decision to move workers into the unsafe Melcor Centre – after fighting for years to get workers out.
An April 24 memo from AHS management to its addiction and mental health staff in Lethbridge, shows AHS received notice to vacate the Lethbridge Provincial Building by spring 2024 to accommodate Alberta Infrastructure operational requirements.
According to the memo, they are reconfiguring, renovating, and consolidating plans for the Community Health Unit (train station), Melcor Centre, and Chinook Regional Hospital.
This comes as a concern because AUPE has been battling the Government of Alberta for years to move workers out of the dangerous Melcor building. AUPE Vice-President Darren Graham said the union was assured the government had no plans to renew the lease when it expires in two years.
“Frankly, it's alarming to see AHS telling staff they plan to consolidate all community and public health programs under Melcor’s crumbling roof,” Graham said. “This isn’t just a matter of slapping some paint on the problem. There are really serious issues like mould, flooding, falling ceiling tiles, broken elevators– the list goes on. AHS needs to look at other, safer options when relocating their staff.”
It’s also concerning that AUPE and other unions representing these workers were not consulted after years of advocating for the health and safety of our members and all Albertans who rely on the public health services they deliver.
“The health and safety of workers and Albertans accessing public health care services shouldn’t be an afterthought – it should be a priority to this government. At this point, if AHS moves forward with this plan, it’s not a matter of if but when someone gets hurt in the Melcor building.”