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KINGSTON, ON Kingston area patients and hospital workers have been betrayed by a provincial government determined to underfund Ontario hospitals, says the union representing more than 1,100 service, administration and nursing workers at Kingston General Hospital.

The layoffs also speak volumes about the state of labour relations at the Kingston General when hospital workers have to find out about layoffs from the local newspaper. Despite our best efforts to determine from senior administration what services and whose jobs would be cut, there was no formal or informal discussion with us.

It is disgraceful and a betrayal of both patients and dedicated hospital workers, says Louis Rodrigues, the president of Local 1974 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Since last fall, CUPE 1974 members have alerted the Kingston community that the governments plan to transform and integrate health services, would lead to service and staffing cuts.

We, at Local 1974, are well aware of this governments goal to shut down services in hospitals and force administrations to eliminate staff. Now the people of Kingston can also see this governments real intention to starve hospitals of funding and force them to cut costs off the backs of hospital workers. This is what transformation really means, says Rodrigues.

The federal government has committed $800 million for health care services in Ontario, and the provincial government initiated an Ontario health premium expected to generate $1.4 billion. But despite all this new money, the provincial Liberals are still determined to underfund hospitals. For 2005-2006, Ontario hospitals predict a $760 million funding shortfall, and anticipate that 8,700 hospital workers will be laid off province-wide. This is in addition to the 2,000 layoffs announced by the hospitals for 2004. Based on the current deficit at Kingston General, CUPE 1974 estimates that an additional 400 Kingston General hospital staff will be laid off next year.

Ultimately, its patients who will receive less care and have to endure dirtier hospitals and increasing waiting times. We havent heard anything from our local politicians, including our regional cabinet minister John Gerretson, explaining why his government is betraying the people of Kingston, Rodrigues.


For more information, please contact:
Louis Rodrigues, President, CUPE 1974 – (613) 531-1319
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications – (416) 578-8774