EDMONTON – The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is calling on the UCP government to stop dismantling Alberta’s public health care system and tackle the province’s short-staffing crisis with more front-line support.
Despite repeated calls by AUPE for a collaborative approach and consultation, the UCP government is going ahead with ramming its overhaul of primary care, acute care, continuing care, mental health and addictions.
“Over the past 30 years I've seen these types of reforms and without union and worker involvement they are bound to fail,” AUPE President Guy Smith said. “This is going to have a massive impact across sectors and will hurt an already fragile health care system being chipped away by the UCP’s privatization scheme.”
Workers are under ongoing extreme stress and these major changes add more disruption and uncertainty to a system that is suffering.
“Nothing in these reforms addresses the short staffing crisis and it might even drive more workers away from the front lines and hinder attracting new workers,” Smith said. “The government’s plan will only take things from bad to worse.”
AUPE is pressing Health Minister Adriana LaGrange to commit to keeping unions informed, involved and heard. The government must implement wage increases, focus on greater job security and improve staffing levels to support front-line workers and ensure the delivery of quality care to Albertans.
“If the minister and government are truly committed to hearing from workers and protecting front line jobs, then they can prove it by ensuring that these commitments are enshrined in collective agreements,” Smith said.
More than 82,000 AUPE members, including 49,000 in health care, will be in collective bargaining in 2024 in what will be the biggest round of bargaining the union has ever seen.
“Our focus on bargaining is even more crucial to protect workers, and service delivery, from the disruption and negative impacts of these reforms,” Smith said.
AUPE President Guy Smith will be available for comment.
For media inquiries, please contact AUPE Communications Officer Maureen Mariampillai at email@example.com or 780-566-2100.