Health care workers in the Regional Health Authority (CIUSSS - CHUS), in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, addressed the institution’s board of directors last Monday, November 12. They staged a demonstration before the general meeting and their union representatives took to the floor during the question period.

CUPE 4475 represents the more than 5400 employees of the health centre, including paratechnical staff, auxiliary services and trades. CUPE members account for about 30% of the personnel.

The union called attention to the state of crisis at the institution, both in terms of the working conditions for employees and patient-care for the public. And given the employer’s attitude during contract negotiations, there isn’t much light at the end of the tunnel.

“We have lost about 500 orderlies every year for the past three years. And now, in 2018, we have only 26 new orderlies training in the region. The situation is critical and it’s getting worse.  And as usual, it’s the workers and the patients who will bear the brunt. The public in the Eastern Townships should be very worried about this and must demand drastic changes,” said CUPE servicing representative, Éric Bergeron.

“Employees are discouraged to see, that even under these circumstances, the employer is in no hurry to negotiate a new collective agreement. The employer broke off negotiations and is waiting for mediation and arbitration to begin. This is just another missed opportunity to fix the problem,” added Bergeron.

The local has shared its heartfelt plea in a video that provides more information. (Video in French only.)