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TORONTO With the McGuinty government ready to rely on public-private partnerships to renew the provinces infrastructure, tomorrows march against private hospitals must be only a beginning in a major campaign, says CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan.

Ryan will speak to community and union activists in the Ontario Health Coalition who will come from across Ontario to rally at Nathan Phillips Square at noon on Saturday, April 3 and then march to Queens Park. Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), who number 200,000 working in Ontarios hospitals, schools, universities, municipalities and social services, will arrive in buses from Hamilton, Guelph, Brampton, Kingston, Mississauga, Oshawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Windsor and Sudbury as well as Toronto.

Like the song says, weve got trouble with a capital T that rhymes with P and that stands for P3s, Ryan says. While P3s are most obvious in the construction of new hospitals, CUPE Ontario has received a clear message in meetings with ministers, especially Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal David Caplan, that the province is open to these schemes in every sector.

P3s are a rip-off of taxpayers because in every instance it costs more to borrow money privately than it does publicly especially with rates so low, Ryan said. And they are a rip-off of the workers because the private partner makes an ongoing profit by taking over operations and cutting wages and benefits. In British Columbia hospitals where services were privatized, workers went from earning about $20 an hour to $9.50 an hour overnight, he said.

Thats trouble for the whole community and, to top it all off, once services are private, they are no longer accountable to the public, he said. Its time to join forces and rebuild strong communities in Ontario with strong public services that are publicly delivered.

Who: CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan and hundreds of union and
community activists in the Ontario Health Coalition

What: March Against P3s to Stop the Private Hospitals

When: 12 noon, Saturday, April 3, 2004

Where: Nathan Phillips Square, marching to Queens Park


For more information, please contact:

Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-616-6142 (cell)
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario 416-209-0066 (cell)