Protecting public health care is top priority for workers and all Canadians
Toronto, October 6 to 9, 2014
During the first CUPE Sector Council Conference, close to 200 health care workers from the province gathered to discuss the issues facing health care workers across the country.
Austerity budgets are leading to cuts to health care funding and pressure to find “efficiencies.” Private, for-profit corporations are targeting health care for privatization, which has a negative impact on the quality of care.
Workers are concerned about workload, stress, bullying and violence in the workplace. Attendance management hearings, hospital acquired infections and mandatory vaccinations were also key topics that were discussed.
Another overarching issue is that the right to strike is being limited for health care workers, which creates challenges in terms of bargaining power. Restructuring of health care regions in some provinces is creating challenges in terms of representation.
The Sector Council Conference was a powerful opportunity to talk about our common issues, but also to share best practices and new ideas.
The need for strong local actions to build support among the public, in the community was emphasized.
As one CUPE member said: “We can’t separate bargaining and campaigns. We have to change bargaining and put social issues on the bargaining table. It’s about building alliances between those who provide and those who receive services.”
Moving forward, the participants have selected key issues to focus on including attendance management issues, privatization and a renewed Health Accord.
Photo album: Health Care sector council meeting