Hospital workers in locations across Alberta walked off the job this morning in protest of cuts to the public healthcare system.
According to Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), the union that represents the workers, “anger has been building among members for months.”
Health-care workers take to the streets: “Across this province, working people are rising up against Jason Kenney’s job-killing policies and are joining the fight in solidarity," says #AUPE president Guy Smith. #abhealth #ableg https://t.co/mNtAQ6OgPr pic.twitter.com/2xHpX79hjL— AUPE (@_AUPE_) October 26, 2020
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.”
“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,” said Smith. “By constantly short-staffing public health care, this government is pushing our members to the breaking point exactly when Albertans need them most.”
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 Hospital in Edmonton.
There are hundreds of workers picketing outside the hospital this morning.
“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.
“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.”