98 per cent of staff represented by Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) have voted for a new four-year collective agreement.

“Staff at Kingston Health Sciences Centre are concerned that the merger of KGH and the Hotel Dieu will lead to downsizing. Cuts to beds, staff and programs have happened after hospital mergers in many other communities. Our members also worry that a change of government will bring hospital funding cuts. They want to lock in job security protections for the next four years. There is huge support that there are no concessions in this agreement and that we have made substantial gains,” said Mike Rodrigues, president of CUPE 1974.

The new contract maintains CUPE’s superior job security provisions and treatment of part-time employees in addition to improvements to violence protection, pregnancy leave, disability rights and the workload complaints processes for KHSC nurses, care aides, porters and clerical and trades staff at the hospital’s KGH site.

CUPE 1974 is affiliated with the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE, that bargains provincially and in March joined a bargaining common front with the members of SEIU and Unifor. That alliance resulted in a tentative contract at the end of April for nearly 75,000 hospital workers.