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Kingston hospital workers say they are prepared to put up a fight if the Ontario Liberals pursue cutting hospital costs by slashing their wages and contracting out their work.

Despite a massive show of resolve during a province-wide picket by hospital workers on November 9, the Ontario health minister has refused to apologize for demeaning the important work hospital workers do. Nor have the Liberals backed away from pushing hospitals to cut costs by cutting wages and contracting out hospital workers jobs.

“We are putting the Liberals on notice that hospital cost-cutting off the backs of the lowest paid workers in the system will not be tolerated. We deserve better than intentional disrespect by the Liberal health minister who is trying to soften public opinion by suggesting we are overpaid and unskilled. Our skills are vital to patient care, and the minister knows that. But because he wants to contract out our jobs, he is refusing to acknowledge that our work is important, ” says Louis Rodrigues, the president of Local 1974 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

CUPE and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1.on that jointly represent nearly 50,000 hospital workers are holding a media conference in Kingston on Monday, November 22 at 10:00 a.m. to launch a coordinated campaign to fight the Liberal plan to slash the wages of hospital workers.

The Kingston media conference kicks off a week of coordinated actions by SEIU and CUPE members in the hospital sector that include a mass province-wide picket action on Friday, November 26 and participation in the Broken Promises Rally at Queens Park on Saturday, November 27.

Who: SEIU and CUPE

What: Hospital Workers Media Conference

When: Monday, November 22, 2004 10:00 a.m.

Where: Kingston General Hospital (Main Hospital Entrance, Stuart Street)


For more information, please contact:

Louis Rodrigues President, CUPE 1974 (613) 531-1319

Allen Ferens SEIU Local 1.on Secretary-Treasurer (416) 565-4132 (cell)

Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications (416) 578-8774

John Van Beek SEIU Communications (905) 660-1800 x 319