Members across province fight to stop cuts in the midst of pandemic
Members across province fight to stop dangerous cuts in the midst of pandemic
EDMONTON – Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at locations across Alberta today (Monday, Oct. 26) to defend their jobs and the public healthcare system that keeps Albertans safe and alive.
“Anger has been building among members for months,” says Guy Smith, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE). “The recent announcement by Health Minister Tyler Shandro of 11,000 jobs being cut in the middle of a global deadly pandemic was the last straw for them.”
He adds: “Nursing-care and support workers decided today that there was no other option but to fight to protect Albertans at risk, especially during the deadliest pandemic in a century. By constantly short-staffing public health care, this government is pushing our members to the breaking point exactly when Albertans need them most.”
Smith continues: “Across this province, working people are rising up against Jason Kenney’s job-killing policies and are joining the fight in solidarity. This was a decision taken by the members themselves. AUPE is a democratic union and we respect the wishes of our members.”
The AUPE president will be available to speak to media at the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s main entrance on Kingsway Avenue at 8:30 a.m. AUPE vice-presidents are fanning out across the province to support members in this fight.
AUPE represents more than 90,000 workers, including about 58,000 in health care. The union represents about 2,800 nursing-care and support workers at the Royal Alexandra.
AUPE members are committed to ensuring patients safety during any dispute.
“Members will do everything in their power to keep Albertans safe. Public safety is why they are taking this action. They know that slashing thousands of front-line jobs during a pandemic is mad. It will lead to lower levels of care and higher costs. It will lead to tragedies,” says Smith.
“Shandro and Kenney have arrogantly dismissed the vital role our members play in front-line health care. After risking their lives to come to work every day for more than seven months - to treat patients, to prevent infections, to keep hospitals running - their reward is to see their jobs axed and handed over to corporations seeking to profit off patient care. That is shameful.”
Smith appealed for other Albertans to join the fight. “All Albertans are being targeted by this government. If you are a public or private-sector worker, a parent, a student, a teacher, someone with a handicap or disabilities, you are all under attack. This is your fight, too.”
Guy Smith or other AUPE executives are available for comment for those who cannot make the media conference.
For more information, contact Terry Inigo-Jones, communications officer, 403-831-4394.