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OTTAWA - Following the restructuring of Ottawa’s Civic, General and Riverside Hospitals, 3000 hospital workers reaffirmed their support for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in a vote to choose which union would represent them at the newly merged Ottawa hospital on November 24th.

“We’re thrilled that Ottawa area hospital workers voted overwhelmingly to stay with 140,000 other health care workers nation-wide represented by CUPE,” says National President Judy Darcy.

“Workers at the Ottawa Hospital sent a clear message to their employer that they wanted a strong union to represent them as they negotiate a new collective agreement,” said Darcy. “When we look at restructuring and the growing threat of privatization of our health services, it’s clear that CUPE is the union best equipped to protect their interests.”

Under Bill 136, following the merger of hospitals, workers must select one union to represent them at the newly-merged hospital. In this case, the Retail Wholesale Union, formerly affiliated with the Steelworkers, and the Operating Engineers were pitted against CUPE Local 4000 to represent service workers at the merged Ottawa Civic, Ottawa General and Riverside hospitals. RW switched horses mid-campaign to join the Canadian Autoworkers (CAW). The votes were counted November 25th and CUPE captured two-thirds of ballots cast.

“We will continue our fight to protect public health care in Ontario and across Canada,” adds Darcy. “If Ralph Klein thinks he’s going to get away with private hospitals in Alberta, he’d better think again. CUPE fought him and won before, and we’ll do it again.”

For further information please contact: Robert Fox