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EDMONTON The Canadian Union of Public Employees has been confirmed as the union that will represent health care support workers in Region 1 (Chinook Regional Health Authority) and Region 2 (Palliser Health Authority) of the province. And with the days ticking away until the polls close, the union is pulling out all the stops to ensure health care workers in Alberta cast their ballots to choose the union they want to represent them.

In Regions 1 and 2, CUPE already represented almost all the general service support workers so weve been declared the bargaining agent for those regions. We welcome general support workers into Canadas largest union and look forward to representing them, said Ron Pilling, CUPEs Healthcare Coordinator for Alberta. But elsewhere in the province the votes are continuing and were putting on a big push to ensure all health care workers vote. It will continue to be challenging times for healthcare workers in the coming months and years. Having a strong union is critical.

The votes are being conducted by the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) as part of a province-wide change to the way health care workers are represented. General service support workers in hospitals and health centers in six health regions are being asked whether they want to be represented by CUPE or another union.

Since the polls began last month, thousands of workers have voted, but theres still many healthcare workers who havent yet sent in their ballots, said Pilling. In the coming weeks, well be contacting health care workers to encourage them to vote before the LRB deadline.

Pilling says some workers have been confused by media reports that the vote is already over. Some of our members saw reports saying AUPE had won the health care votes, but thats just not true. In the first place, the stories covered auxiliary nurses. Were involved in votes to represent general service support workers in all regions and auxiliary nursing in Region 5. But secondly, no one has won any votes yet because the votes arent over and ballots will not be counted until sometime in September, said Pilling.

Its really important that workers who havent yet voted get their ballots in, said Pilling. This decision will have a huge impact on their lives for years to come.

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CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPEs 32,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, museums, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and www.cupealberta.ab.ca

For further information, contact:

Ron Pilling, CUPE Alberta Healthcare Coordinator (780) 910-5979 (cellular) or (780) 484-7644 (office)