Wingham - Area hospital workers say they are prepared to put up a fight if the Ontario Liberals pursue cutting hospital costs by slashing their wages and contracting out their work.
Despite a massive show of resolve during a province-wide picket by 5,000 hospital workers on November 9, the Ontario health minister has refused to apologize for demeaning the important work hospital workers do. Nor have the Liberals backed away from pushing hospitals to cut costs by cutting wages and contracting out hospital workers jobs.
We are putting the Liberals on notice that hospital cost-cutting off the backs of the lowest paid workers in the system will not be tolerated. We deserve better than intentional disrespect by the Liberal health minister who is trying to soften public opinion by suggesting we are overpaid and unskilled.
Our skills are vital to patient care, and the minister knows that. But because he wants to contract out our jobs, he is refusing to acknowledge that our work is important, says Deb Hirdes, a regional vice-president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (OCHU/CUPE).
CUPE and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1.on - that jointly represent nearly 50,000 hospital workers - are holding a media conference in Wingham on Wednesday, November 24 at 2:00 p.m. to launch a coordinated campaign to fight the Liberal plan to slash the wages of hospital workers.
The Wingham media conference is part of a week of coordinated actions by SEIU and CUPE members in the hospital sector that include, an MPP lobby, a mass province-wide picket action on Friday, November 26 and participation in the Broken Promises Rally at Queens Park on Saturday, November 27.
SEIU and CUPE
Wingham Hospital Workers Media Conference
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 2:00 p.m.
Wingham & District Memorial Hospital, 270 Carling Terrace, Wingham
For more information, please contact:
Deb Hirdes, Regional Vice-President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions - (519) 275-1707
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications - (416) 578-8774
John Van Beek, SEIU Local 1.on - (905) 660-1800 ext. 319