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Three days in November drastically changed the face of collective bargaining and representation for health care workers in Alberta.

After months of drawn out campaigning, the results of the representation votes in seven Alberta health regions were released. At the end of the third day, CUPE had lost 6,200 members.

For CUPE it was a tough blow, but certainly not a fatal one. CUPE continues to represent 5,600 general support and auxiliary nursing workers in both acute care and long-term care all across Alberta.

In most regions, CUPE was outnumbered going in to the vote. The results demonstrate that CUPE members remained strongly in support of their union, says CUPE Alberta president Bruce McLeod. But in the end they were swamped by the larger AUPE numbers.

I feel a little bit like a child in a divorce situation and the court has decided who I have to go live with, says Rosemarie Foley, a unit vice-president of CUPE 1461 at the Smoky Lake Hospital. But, the concerns remain the same so I will step forward and I will continue to speak up for the members. It is their representation that really matters.

McLeod says, CUPE has always understood that support workers are critical to care and well continue to fight for health care workers in the interests of our health care members, our education, municipal and social service members and in the interest of all Albertans.

Pam Beattie