Targets also include seniors and Albertans with disabilities
EDMONTON - Having betrayed its own mission to provide compassionate care for Albertans, Covenant Health has joined Kenney’s scheme to sell off crucial hospital and care services - including food, environmental, laundry and transcription services - to the private sector.
“Sucking profit out of a public service by privatizing it is like someone siphoning the gas right out of your brand-new car,” says AUPE Vice-President Bonnie Gostola. “That car’s not going to get you very far anymore, is it? You might even end up abandoned on a lonely road. So, if you’re sucking profits out of the medical system so some rich guy can get even richer, then you’re guaranteeing dirty laundry, spoiled food, subpar cleaning protocols, and vulnerable people getting sick.”
Today (Oct. 23), in a letter to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), Covenant Health revealed 225 members and counting (over 155 full-time equivalent positions) will lose their jobs because of the privatization plan - a product of the province’s Alberta Health Services (AHS) review that was conducted in 2019.
“The UCP and Covenant Health clearly have no respect for the role General Support Services staff play in helping Albertans get better when they’re sick,” says Gostola.
“These are the members who keep patients fed, who sanitize every surface of our hospitals, who stop viruses from killing our loved ones. They clean bedding, support nurses and doctors, and keep the entire care system running smoothly. And now Kenney is coming for their wages, benefits, and union protections, all so another one of his corporate pals can make a buck. It’s disgraceful.”
On the same day Covenant Health sent its devastating letter to the union, AHS informed over 428 staff who clean and sanitize linens and surgical sheets that it was rewarding their crucial service by terminating their jobs.
“It’s bad news after bad news for workers,” says Gostola. “To know that the UCP is enlisting outside organizations, like Covenant Health, in its attack on us, though - in the middle of a pandemic - is disturbing. Whether it’s publicly-delivered services or non-profit services, Kenney and his crew will find a way to turn them over to the rich, and everyday Albertans will pay the price.”
In their letter, Covenant Health said St. Therese Villa clerical staff will also be impacted by their attempts to erode the care system.
“The last thing Albertans in supportive-living care need right now is chaos in their homes,” says Gostola. “Seniors and Albertans with disabilities have suffered enough. Our members aren’t going to stand by while Kenney and his cronies inflict more pain. We’re going to fight back. Albertans hate bullies, and they hate cheats. People across this province are fighting mad, and they’re going to join us because they know who’s got their back, and who just wants to pick their back pocket.”
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