OTTAWA Hundreds of hospital workers across the province are planning noon-hour pickets outside Ontario hospitals on March 19th, 2004 to protest government legislation introduced by the Liberals that threatens publicly funded and provided health care. Since its introduction four months ago, Bill 8 has drawn the ire and criticism of doctors, nurses, hospital workers and citizens alike.
The Liberals promised to stop the privatization of our hospitals. Instead theyve introduced Bill 8 a legislative vehicle to speed up the privatization, says Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).
Bill 8 gives the Ontario government the power to force CEOs and the boards of hospitals, long-term care facilities and community care agencies to enter into performance agreements and the power to reduce their budgets, continues Hurley. Performance agreements are in use in British Columbia where they are used to cut support and administration budgets. This years target for BC healthcare administrators is a 7% budget cut. That means less service and less patient care. Very dangerous.
Hospital workers are also concerned that Bill 8, if passed, will undermine public health care in Ontario through the unprecedented powers it grants the provincial government to restructure, privatize and contract-out public health care operations and services to private corporations.
Such rationalizing of operations, means thousands of hospital workers could lose their jobs as government seeks ways to regionalize or centralize food production, laundry and other services.
The Liberals cynically call Bill 8 the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act. Hospital workers know this is actually the Commitment to Hospital Privatization Act, states Hurley.
Province-wide information pickets outside Ontarios hospitals
Ontarios hospitals including:
- Ottawa Hospital
- Kingston General
- Peterborough Regional Health Centre
- Sudbury Regional
- Cornwall Community Hospital, 2nd St. site
- Arnprior District Hospital
11:30 a.m. 1:00 p.m.
The Ontario Council for Hospital Unions (OCHU) represents over 27,000 hospital workers in over 80 hospitals.
For more information, please contact:
Michael Hurley, President, OCHU
cell: (416) 884-0770
Helen Fetterly, Secretary-Treasurer, OCHU
cell: (613) 551-0688
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications
cell: (647) 224-0662
Steve Palmer (President), CUPE 7100 (Hotel Dieu Hospital, St. Catharines),
Jan Ouzas (President), CUPE 4800,
Joanne Wilson (President), CUPE 1999 (Lakeridge Health-Oshawa),
Karen Ward, CUPE 1943 (Peterborough Regional Health Centre),
Louis Rodrigues (President), CUPE 1974 (Kingston General Hospital),
Wanda Tucker (President), CUPE 2247 (Campbellford Memorial Hospital),
Heather Latendresse (President), CUPE 1548 (Renfrew Victoria Hospital),
Carolyn Claridge (President), CUPE 790 (St. John’s Rehabilitation Hospital),
Lou Burri, CUPE 4000 (Civic campus, Ottawa Hospital),
Richard Gauthier, CUPE staff (French), present at Montfort and Riverside
Dianne Lavoie (President), Ottawa Hospital General campus,
Diane Morin, Executive member, CUPE 783 (Cornwall general Hospital),