Edmonton The Canadian Union of Public Employees is forced to say goodbye to another three groups of general support service workers in Albertas health regions as a result of the Bill 27 representation votes.
These results demonstrate to us that CUPE members remained strongly in support of their union. In two of the regions we went into the vote outnumbered by AUPE and held our ground. The same is true of results from Calgary and Edmonton released yesterday, said CUPE Alberta president Bruce McLeod.
In the East Central Health Region CUPE entered the vote with 29.3 per cent of the employees and garnered 35 per cent of the votes cast. In the Peace Country Health Region 38.7 per cent of the employees were CUPE members and 33 per cent cast their votes for CUPE. Both votes were lost to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.
In the Northern Lights Health Region, the general support service workers will now become members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union.
CUPE members and staff fought a tough campaign and even though we say goodbye for now to some strong and committed CUPE members, we will continue to fight on their behalf, said McLeod. In the Northern Lights Health Region, health care workers voted to become members of a strong union with a large and effective presence in that area. We have worked closely with CEP and will continue to do so, he added.
CUPE has always stood by general support service workers and that will not change today. They are a vital part of our health care system but their jobs are under constant threat. We are extremely concerned about the issues facing them as collective bargaining under Bill 27 takes hold, said McLeod.
As a result of the provincial governments Bill 27, the Alberta Labour Relations Board ordered the vote last April. The provincial government streamlined health delivery from 17 regions to 9, requiring one bargaining unit for each of four occupational groups employed by the health regions. Approximately 13,000 general support workers were asked to choose the union to represent them.
Health Region streamlining was not the only purpose of Bill 27. The legislation gives enormous powers to the Alberta Labour Relations Board to determine the terms and conditions of health workers contracts. At the same time, the government and some health regions are threatening their jobs with talk of public-private partnerships and contracting-out. CUPE members know that and we believe they voted for their union knowing we will stand with them to fight for their jobs and for the public health care system, said McLeod.
CUPE was declared the union for the Chinook Regional Health Region and the Palliser Health Region as the union represented over 80 per cent of the general support service workers in both those two regions. Counting the votes for the David Thompson and Aspen Region Health Authorities will take place tomorrow.
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, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and www.cupealberta.ab.ca.
For more information:
Pam Beattie, CUPE Communications
(780) 484-7644 or (780) 288-1230 (cellular)