Rural communities will be hit hard with new jobs difficult to find
Dozens of front-line health-care workers will lose their jobs in Red Deer today (Friday, Nov. 26), as the UCP government and Alberta Health Services (AHS) push ahead with a dangerous provincewide plan to hand over hospital operations to private industry.
“This loss of laundry services is part of the government plan to throw 11,000 front-line heroes out of work while we’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Kevin Barry, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), which represents about 95,000 workers.
“Today, Red Deer Regional Hospital is losing 59 workers in the linen department. About a dozen of them have found work within AHS, but the rest will be gone today,” says Barry, who is chair of AUPE’s anti-privatization committee.
The Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury in Ponoka saw 24 full-time and five casual laundry workers cut earlier this month. In total, about 400 laundry workers in 54 communities, mainly in rural areas, will see their jobs disappear in communities including Athabasca, Barrhead, Canmore, Claresholm, Cold Lake, Devon, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, High River and Strathmore. Larger centres including Lethbridge and Medicine Hat will also be impacted.
“This is the way this government thanks hard-working Albertans who have been there for us throughout this pandemic. They have performed their duties at great risk to themselves, while the government had bungled its pandemic response at almost every stage,” says Barry.
“This handing over of jobs and public assets will end up costing more and providing lower-quality service – because that’s always the result of privatizations,” he says. “It’s one more example of how this government has messed up during the pandemic.”
“It is also a huge blow to communities, many of them rural, who are already suffering thanks to years of economic turmoil. Good jobs are hard to find and yet this government is killing them rather than creating them. Just one more broken promise, one more failure.”
Other areas bracing for cuts include nutrition and food services; environmental services; lab services, supply chain and procurement; and long-term care.
AUPE VP Kevin Barry is available for comment.
For more information, please contact communications officer Terry Inigo-Jones at email@example.com or 403-831-4394.