October 26, 2020
Front-line hospital workers represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees have walked off the job at locations across Alberta today, to defend their jobs and the public health care system that keeps Albertans safe and healthy.
This is a decision that no health care worker takes lightly. These workers know better than anyone the importance of a strong and well-resourced public health care system, and they know what is at stake of being lost if the government continues to pursue their incessant cuts. Health care workers are striking today because they need to be sure that they are equipped to provide the best possible care for patients, and they know this government stands in the way of that.
Since they formed government, the UCP has made it implicitly clear that they are not interested in supporting our vital public health care system. Jason Kenney has pursued an aggressive agenda of cutting and privatizing the public services on which Albertans all rely. Even in the face of a global pandemic, while health care workers have proven themselves as the first line of defense in the province’s pandemic response, this government merely paused it’s layoffs of an estimated 16,000 health care workers province-wide. The plan to contract out and privatize their jobs is an insult to workers, and a betrayal of the patients who depend on them.
“Kenney’s UCP government continues to demonstrate nothing but disdain for the workers on health care’s front lines. This government has shown that they will stop at nothing to push forward their privatization agenda,” says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. “Make no mistake, everything they have done so far is by design. Their panels, their reviews, their legislative changes, have all served to provide the political fodder and legal framework to decimate those services that we value as society’s great equalizers: education and health care."
We have a government that has failed to learn from this pandemic and does not respond to rallies, letter writing and telephone campaigns. They don’t care about petitions, and they are counting on the fact that we can’t take to the street to protest their destructive legislation during a pandemic. In their refusal to listen to Albertans' concerns on behalf of our public health care system, this government has left health care workers little choice but to strike.
“This government declared war on the front line health care workers of this province when they announced they were cutting over 11,000 good health care jobs at a time when Albertans are already struggling,” says Azocar. “Jason Kenney wasn’t in Alberta in 2012 when the same workers whose jobs he is bent on attacking went on a wildcat strike and shut down hospitals. Kenney has not seen the fight that Albertans have waged time and again to protect our public health care. In this wildcat strike, solidarity and people-power have never rang so true and necessary against this government’s absolutism.”
Friends of Medicare stands in solidarity with striking health care workers for the sake of patients all across this province and for the protection of our vital public health care system.
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