Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted

Monday morning front-line hospital staff walked off the job across the province, including Rimbey.

Front-line staff say they are striking to defend their jobs and the public health care system.

The strikes began Monday morning at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Alta., followed by groups across the province, including Rimbey, Wetaskiwin and Leduc joining in. Alberta Health Services also confirmed a walkout at the University of Alberta Hospital at noon on Mon., Oct. 26.

Guy Smith, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), says tensions having been building for months among AUPE members.

“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,” Smith said in a press release.

“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.”

Shandro announced that 9,700 jobs will be lost through outsourcing support services and AHS was asked to eliminate 100 management positions. Outsourcing support services would include laundry, community lab, and food services. Shandro says these changes will save the government upwards of $600 million annually when completed.

The strike by AUPE members was a decision made by the members themselves, Smith says, adding AUPE respects the wishes of its members.

“Across this province, working people are rising up against Jason Kenney’s job-killing policies and are joining the fight in solidarity,” said Smith.

Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling says he supports the striking health care professionals across the province.

“This spontaneous labour action is a direct response to government decisions to cut, gut and privatize public health care. Alberta’s teachers stand in solidarity with public sector workers across the province in defence of quality public services,” Schilling said in a press release.

“When workers decide that they have no choices left but to take this kind of job action, we need to listen to them and their concerns.”

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) says they are also standing in solidarity with AUPE workers.

In a press release, Mike Parker, president of HSAA, says the cuts to heath care in the midst of a global pandemic by the Provincial Government were “heartless.”

“Health care workers have been working tirelessly to keep Albertan safe and they have been rewarded with threats to their jobs by a government that is hell-bent on ripping a part our public health care system. The blame for any disruption to patient care that may occur today needs to land squarely at the feet of Jason Kenney and the UCP,” Parker said.

President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Travis Toews says the strike has bput the wellbeing of Albertans at risk.

“Alberta Health Services is taking immediate action with the Alberta Labour Relations Board to end this illegal activity. Those involved in this illegal action will be held accountable,” Toews said in a statement.

“My expectation is that all unions respect the bargaining process, stop putting Albertans’ safety at risk and abide by the law.”

AUPE says its members will continue to be committed to ensuring patients safety during any dispute.

Smith says public safety is why front-line staff have taken this type of action.

“Members will do everything in their power to keep Albertans safe… 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,” said Smith.

AUPE says that registered nurses were not involved in the walk-out, however, unit clerks, housekeeping, food services, laundry staff, licensed practical nurses, health-care aids and maintenance workers were involved.

-With files from Shaela Dansereau, Black Press Media

 

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to do their part by observing gathering limits, staying home if unwell, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three new Central zone COVID-19 deaths, Alberta adds 1,433 cases

Red Deer down to 802 active cases of COVID-19

During the summer at peak times and days, the angled parking lot and the small parking additional parking area north of the playground are congested due to visitors utilizing one of the few public boat launches on Pigeon Lake. Image/ Metro Creative Connection.
New parking lot to open in Mulhurst for the summer season

The paid parking lot will be able to accommodate 26 vehicles and trailers.

File photo
Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin RCMP requesting public’s assistance in shooting that left one male injured

The gun shot victim was transported to hospital by STARS Air Ambulance.

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, watchdog says

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

The historic Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne in southern Alberta is up for sale

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
Alberta RCMP investigating possible threat to police after Mirror rally

Online images show RCMP members, vehicles in crosshairs of a rifle

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

A youth plays basketball in an otherwise quiet court in Toronto on Saturday April 17, 2021. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal and provincial governments to fight COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on proven public health policy interventions including paid sick leave, and education rather than punitive enforcement measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Provinces issued more COVID-19 tickets during 2nd wave: CCLA report

‘A pandemic is a public health, not a public order, crisis,’ reads the report

Most Read