Alberta heading in the wrong direction with health care wage cut demands
By Pat Van Horne, USW member of the CHC Board of Directors
The Friends of Medicare are stunned by the Alberta government’s demand for wage rollbacks as high as 10.93 per cent in bargaining with the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA).
HSAA is a component of National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), a member of the Canadian Health Coalition, which represents more than 28,000 high-skilled and highly-trained health professionals across the province. They work in regulated health care professions which deliver the diagnostic, clinical, rehabilitation, and preventative services that are essential to timely and quality health care.
The chair of HSAA’s bargaining committee, Leanne Alfaro, told the Edmonton Journal her members are feeling disappointed and disrespected by the offer and it won’t be accepted.
“Our members’ mandate has not changed,” said Alfaro. “That means no rollbacks, no concessions, job security, and also to increase workplace health and safety and wellness for our members.”
Friends of Medicare Executive Director Chris Galloway said HSAA members are among all other health care professionals who have, “gone above and beyond in getting us through the pandemic. HSAA members have literally put their own lives at risk to save the lives of Albertans.”
Galloway added that many areas of the health care system in Alberta have yet to recover from the toll of the pandemic.
“Our EMS system is experiencing steady red alerts, and health care facilities across the province continue to announce closures due to staffing shortages,” he said, adding that what is needed is for the government to work proactively with post-secondary institutions to ensure a skilled workforce now, and moving forward.
“Instead, Albertans are seeing a hostile approach in bargaining and deep cuts to important institutions, not to mention large tuition fee hikes for students who could become the next generation of health care workers,” he said.