We need your help to keep pressure on the government
AUPE members providing services for persons with developmental disabilities (PDD) in Calgary and Edmonton have been working with family members of residents to prevent the Government of Alberta from privatizing care and potentially moving residents.
In June, the government informed AUPE that it was looking at a new delivery model for services provided at Residential Support Services, Rosecrest and Hardisty Home in Edmonton, and Calgary Region PDD Graduated Supports. The Minister of Community and Social Services has said there will be a decision in September.
Since then, AUPE has launched the Protect Disability Services campaign, including a petition that has been signed by 4,600 to stop the move. The petition has been delivered to the Legislature, but we are continuing to gather more signatures to keep up the pressure.
If you haven’t signed it yet, please do – and encourage family and friends to do the same. You can find the petition here.
Workers and family members have been putting pressure on MLAs. The NDP caucus is on our side in this fight, but we are also getting support from UCP MLAs saying they are against privatization, which is significant because they have access to the decision-makers in government.
We need your help to keep the pressure up
It’s important that as many people as possible arrange to meet their MLAs to talk about why privatizing care will cause so much harm to these vulnerable Albertans.
We can help you talk to your MLA. Please contact AUPE organizer Trevor Zimmerman firstname.lastname@example.org about how to set up a meeting with your MLA.
Support coming from others
AUPE members and relatives of residents have been leading this fight, but others are starting to give their support.
The Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) has written to Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange to maintain the way care is provided for children at Edmonton’s Rosecrest home. You can see our media release on the growing opposition to privatization here.
Please stay tuned news of more groups announcing their support for our Protect Disability Services campaign.
We have been successful in getting the media to cover this story and spread the word about why privatization is the wrong move, including:
We need to keep the pressure on the government. That means getting you to meet your MLAs as described above and getting more groups to voice their support.
If that isn’t enough, AUPE can support other actions including protests. This is your work and your future, AUPE HQ is behind you, but it needs to be you, the members, fighting back.
That is the aim of our campaign: To save these group homes, to save the residents you love and to save your jobs and benefits. That is where our focus must be.
Some of you have been asking about Article 53 in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and what it means in this situation.
Article 53 says the employer, the Government of Alberta, is required to consult with the union over changes such as this. That consultation is happening, but the process is far from satisfactory, with the employer slow to answer our questions.
While the government is obligated to consult, it has no obligation to listen to us. It can choose to push ahead with privatization even if all the evidence shows it to be a bad idea.
We know this government is ideologically committed to privatization wherever possible. We hope logic, reason and the weight of public opinion may not enough to get it to change direction, but we must prepared to do more.
If we fail to stop privatization of care at these group homes, your collective agreement applies to how layoffs are handled.
Please note that the government is still saying no decision has been made, so we don't yet have details on how they would intend to proceed with layoffs if they decide to proceed with privatization.
Here’s what we do know:
- A new provider is not obligated to hire you;
- Private-sector employers do not have pensions as strong as the PSPP to which you currently belong; and
- Most private employers in Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) services are not unionized.
Our intention is to stop layoffs and to stop privatization. Everything we do in August and September can influence the outcome. We kept the Michener Centre in Red Deer open in 2014 and we can Protect Disability Services in Edmonton and Calgary.