Mr. Kenney, we will see you in court.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) who represents employees at Canadian Blood Services, says the Kenney government is giving for-profit blood brokers the ability to operate freely, including the ability to ship blood to other countries.
“Private blood brokers do not create self-sufficiency in Canada because they make their profits by selling the plasma internationally,” said CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill. “Blood brokers pull donors from the public system, depleting our supply chain.”
“It’s not worth the lives of patients needing blood to make a few dollars for friends of the UCP,” said Gill. “This is a move being done to reward business interests close to the Kenney government, not to save money or provide better health care.”
“The Kenney government needs to scrap the bill, and reverse this dangerous, corrupt blood for money scheme.”
Two-thirds of administrative staff now gone
RED DEER – Another 39 CUPE positions were eliminated and reduced from Red Deer College today in a move the union is calling “devastating to programs and services going forward.”
CUPE Local 1445 President Trina Carroll says there were once 157 people in her union delivering support services to students. Carroll says 43 were let go due to COVID-19 and Red Deer College has given no indication when or if they will all return.
“Students, faculty and even the public are going to see a dramatic reduction in the quality of program supports at the College,” said Carroll. “I am very concerned as to how we will be able to deliver a proper education support, or even provide services.”
In a media announcement early today, Red Deer College announced that recreation centres have been moved to Phase 2, so are in preparation to re-open the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Carroll stated, “The College will be running the centre with minimal staff, all parts of the college will struggle to offer required services given the cuts we faced.”
“Provincial cutbacks are devastating post secondary education in Alberta,” said Carroll. “We were promised no cuts to front line services, but that promise has not been kept.”
BANFF – Jason Pratt, President of CUPE 4318 issued the following statement in reaction to the layoff of almost 400 employees at the Banff Centre. The Centre has placed 284 members on long term leave and another 100 on short term layoff.
“CUPE Local 4318 members are immensely saddened by the news of the permanent layoff of friends and coworkers who have been a part of Banff Centre for many years. CUPE Local 4318 will continue to work with the centre, in hopes that all of its members have jobs when the Centre eventually and fully reopens.
Many of the staff are struggling with the uncertainty and are in a position where they will have to make tough decisions about their lives and futures. In the interim, we strive to help our members by answering their questions and addressing issues in their hour of need. We are working with the employer to ensure all staff will receive their entitlements in accordance with the collective agreement. Arrangements have been made to feed staff, reduce rent for on site workers, and assisting with job services to help find other employment. We at CUPE Local 4318 remain hopeful that the Banff Centre will one day reopen fully, but we remain limited by the coronavirus and the ability to facilitate on site programming.”
Labour Activism During COVID-19: The Attack on Public Education in Alberta
Join us for a discussion on the state of public education in Alberta.
We will discuss a brief history of education in Alberta, government decisions, the new “Choice in Education” bill introduced by the government last week, and take questions. We have a panel of experienced, respected education voices.
Please share this event with anyone you think would be interested.
CUPE launches letter campaign to MLAs
CALGARY – Almost six weeks after Health Minister Tyler Shandro claimed his government would give a $2/hour raise to health care aides in seniors’ facilities, many workers are still waiting for the raise to kick in.
CUPE Alberta, which represents over 5,000 health care workers across the province, unveiled a website today to ask MLAs to recognize the hard work of health care employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The website, www.supportfrontlineheroes.ca includes a tool to send messages to Alberta MLAs.
President Rory Gill says the union launched the campaign because “CUPE members are tired of the disregard the Kenney government has shown for health care workers.”
“Other provinces have increased wages by over $4/hour, have been quicker to implement single staff rules, proper PPE, and other actions to keep everyone safe,” said Gill. “Here, the Kenney government has gone to war with doctors, made fake promises to workers, and dragged their heels on important safety standards.”
“This website allows our members and the public to let the UCP know we’re watching what they do, we know they are messing up, and we know they have broken all their promises.”
To send a message to your MLA in support of our front line workers, please click on picture below or go to www.supportfrontlineheroes.ca to sign:
BC gives $4/hour to front line workers – Albertans get nothing
CALGARY – Two days after the BC government announced a $4/hour raise for most health care workers, Alberta staff at long term care centers are still waiting for a smaller raise promised over a month ago.
CUPE Alberta, which represents 5,000 health care workers in the province, says a survey of their members at long term care facilities indicates most workers still have not received the $2/hour raise promised by Tyler Shandro on April 20th.
The $2/hour raise was only promised to health care aides in private continuing care facilities. In BC, almost every job classification in health care is eligible for the new $4/hour boost.
CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill says Revera sites, which include McKenzie Towne Centre (location of the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Calgary) has not yet raised wages. Different agencies have been given different information on how the raise is to be applied.
“When is Tyler Shandro going to sort out this mess,” asked Gill. “BC is paying twice as much to five times as many people, and they seem able to get the money moving.”
“The Kenney government doesn’t care about health care workers. If they did, they would keep their promises, and recognize the workload, the effort, and the stress these workers are putting themselves through.”
CUPE members working in long term care (LTC) have felt the burden of COVID-19 as hard or harder than most. Some are going to work every day in dangerous situations, made more stressful by residents who can’t see family and friends. Some have to stay at home due to childcare or health restraints. Nowhere have as many of our members gotten sick than in this sector of our union.
We’ve worked hard to speak out on behalf of our members in long term care and fight for better, safer working conditions. Here are a few of the actions we’ve been taking since COVID-19 arrived in Alberta.
CUPE Alberta will continue to fight for justice in long term care and advocate for our brave and selfless members in the sector. If members ever need any information on the work CUPE AB Division is doing they can contact me anytime at email@example.com, and I will be happy to answer and address any questions or concerns.
Thank you to all our members in long term care; you represent the very best of CUPE!
CUPE calls on Shandro to deliver promised wages to staff at seniors’ homes
CALGARY – Six weeks after promising a $2/hour raise for health care aides, those workers are wondering if they will ever see the wages promised by Health Minister Tyler Shandro.
CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill says BC, Ontario and Quebec responded to COVID-19 by delivering wage increases of $4/hour or more to staff, but notes Alberta can’t get it together to give smaller amounts to fewer workers.
“This minister is incompetent,” says Gill. “Even with Ottawa providing funding for wage increases, they can’t figure out how to deliver the money.”
Gill says higher wages are needed to recruit more workers to support Alberta seniors. Earlier this week, health officials promised workers would see an increase on paycheques today. Gill says that’s not happening.
“The government is either lying or misinformed about wage top-ups. They will not be delivered today as promised.”
“It took BC two weeks to organize a provincial wage grid to deal with COVID-19. Two months on, Tyler Shandro is still sputtering,” says Gill. “He truly is the worst health minister in Alberta history.”
CALGARY — A union representing 5,000 health care workers says the Kenney government has failed to address problems in long term care and meat packing. According to the Canadian Union of Public Employees, this failure is the reason Calgary cannot reopen with the rest of Alberta.
“Calgary is still closed because the UCP would not talk to front line workers about safety issues,” said Rory Gill, President of CUPE Alberta. “The biggest COVID outbreaks are in meat packing and long term care, because they messed up both files.”
On April 3, Gill wrote to Health Minister Tyler Shandro with detailed suggestions about how to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in long term care. Gill urged Shandro to put single site staffing rules in place.
“The province of BC put single site staffing rules in place in about two weeks,” said Gill. “Two months into a pandemic, we are still waiting on the Alberta government to figure it out.”
“The Kenney government doesn’t get why we are still seeing outbreaks in long term care centers,” said Gill. “We need more staff, and better safety procedures.”
Gill says the UCP still can’t figure out what it is doing with wages in the sector. On April 10, the minister stated there would be a $2/hour raise for one classification of employee. “Over one month past that announcement, and no one has received a dime. How do you recruit more workers if you don’t pay them enough?”
“In Ontario, the Ford government gave a $4/hour increase for all long term care workers, including housekeeping and dietary aides. “Ford did that weeks ago,” said Gill. “What’s taking Kenney so long?”