Calgary - The members of CUPE Local 182, employees of the Calgary Health Region (CHR) are staging a public demonstration of their opposition to health care privatization today.
The CUPE members are picketing over the lunch hour in opposition to the CHRs plan to hand human resource and payroll services to the private sector. Walking with CUPE today are members of the United Nurses of Alberta, and the Health Sciences Association of Alberta.
This will only cost the health care system more in the long run, said CUPE 182 President, James Arthurs. We have analyzed the proposal and collected evidence from other public-private partnerships of this kind. We want the public to know this is a bad deal for health care, he added.
At the same time CUPE 182 is distributing postcards and collecting signatures to send a message to the CHR that the people of Calgary do not want health care services privatized.
While human resource services are not seen as direct patient care, this plan amounts to dollars taken away from services to go to line the pockets of private investors, Arthurs said.
CUPE 182 has prepared a submission for the CHR and requested the opportunity to present their evidence at an upcoming board meeting. They plan to deliver 5,000 signed postcards to the Board signifying the public opposition to privatization.
This is the first step toward health care privatization. Last month, the Friends of Medicare released evidence that the people of Calgary are opposed to privatization, said Arthurs. Today we begin to mobilize the opposition, he added.
The information pickets are at 11:30 to 1:00 p.m. at the Peter Lougheed Centre, South Entrance and the Rockyview General Hospital, 14th Street Entrance.
CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPEs 31,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and cupealberta.ab.ca
For further information:
Pam Beattie, CUPE Communications,
(780) 288-1230 (cellular)