— Workers at University Health Network, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Hospital for Sick Children and thousands of their colleagues across Ontario have voted 97% in favour of a new collective agreement that brings labour stability to the hospital while the threat of restructuring looms on the horizon.
“The next few years will be a period of rapid change with many challenges for Ontario hospitals,” said Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE), which negotiates with the Ontario Hospital Association on behalf of 32,000 members across the province.
“With the stability of a three-year contract that includes wage increases, job security improvements and other contract improvements, our members will now face challenges presented by the local health integration network (LHIN).”
LHINs are currently preparing strategic plans that could affect the jobs of trades, maintenance, dietary, custodial, materials management and clerical staff in particular. These are the areas of the hospital most vulnerable to restructuring and consolidation.
“The effect on patient care is foremost in our members’ minds,” Hurley said. “LHINs are supposed to localize health care management, but we are concerned that moving food preparation farther from the hospital, for example, will have a negative impact on patients. It’s the same with custodial and maintenance services. We need secure, hospital-based staff to avoid the spread of infectious disease.”
Members will be meeting in early fall to plan their next steps in a campaign to ensure that hospital services remain public and not-for-profit so that Ontario communities get the best health care available.
For more information:
Al Wahid, CUPE Local 5001, University Health Network, 613-551-0688
Jose Ponce, CUPE Local 1156, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, 416-219-7001, 416-219-7001 (cell)
Al Wahid, CUPE Local 5001, University Health Network, 416-798-3526
Sam Snapp, CUPE Local 2816, Hospital for Sick Children, 416-450-3425
Michael Hurley, President, OCHU, 416-884-0770 (cell)
Cim Nunn, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999 ext 240