Alberta health-care workers walk off the job: AUPE

Grant Boone
October 29, 2020

"His suggestion that this can be done without compromising care defies common sense", Notley said. The wildcat strike, which forced Alberta Health Services to cancel all elective surgeries, came after weeks of rising tension between the government and AUPE members in roles such as housekeeping and food services.

Late Monday night, the Alberta Labour Relations Board ruled the job action illegal and the workers' union, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said it would urge staffers to return to work.

"The public shows that they were in support of what they were doing, and saying, you know, yes, we want a public health care system".

AUPE represents about 58,000 health-care workers.

Patients will be contacted directly if their appointments are affected and that visitors may be limited at some sites.

"It's common sense to let local businesses take care of laundry and catering and we definitely can't afford office buildings full of managers managing managers", said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF's Alberta Director.

"That leaves us a lot of overworked people, a lot of overworked staff, stressed-out staff and they deserve a break". "By constantly short-staffing public health care, this government is pushing our members to the breaking point exactly when Albertans need them most".

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The Alberta government would save $3.6 billion annually if its per-person health-care spending was in line with Ontario, B.C. and Quebec, according to the Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta's finances.

He added how Alberta spends 42 per cent of its budget on health, which has increased 17 per cent since 2015.

Guy Smith, president of AUPE, the recent announcement by Health Minister Tyler Shandro about 11,000 jobs being cut in the middle of a global deadly pandemic was "the last straw".

Alberta Health Services has filed a complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board over health service workers walking off the job.

Following an employee walkout on Monday, Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews has announced that anyone who took part in the Alberta healthcare strike might be facing "disciplinary options".

Toews followed suit later Monday morning, condemning the strike action and calling for those involved to be held accountable.

"My expectation is that all unions respect the bargaining process, stop putting Albertans' safety at risk and abide by the law", Toews added.

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