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Management at Community Living Durham North triggers countdown to service disruption

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 19:15

Front-line workers at Community Living Durham North (CLDN) are shocked with their employer’s latest bargaining stunt that would jeopardize services to people with developmental disabilities and their families, said the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 220 developmental services workers at CLDN.

“As front-line workers, we know how important our services are to the lives of supported individuals that we care for,” said Mary McArthur, spokesperson for CUPE 2936.11, representing part-time workers at CLDN. “So, it is very distressing when management pulls the trigger on bargaining talks and starts the countdown toward locking out workers that service supported individuals and their families.”

Prior to the October 14 conciliation meeting with the employer, management threatened workers’ representatives that if the union did not accept their proposals on conciliation day management would ask for a ‘no-board’ report that would trigger a lockout or strike situation. “That is not bargaining, but dictatorial behaviour that our members have witnessed and experienced at their workplace,” said Jacqui Lancaster, CUPE national representative. “That is not acceptable and, unfortunately, with the latest stunt, management started a countdown toward a potential service shutdown that would deny the very services our members provide to supported individuals.”

This latest stunt pulled by management occurred before the union had a chance to fully review and respond to the employer’s proposal. Management forced a ‘no-board’ on both the full-time and part-time units which, once issued by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, would start a 17-day countdown toward a potential service shutdown that could occur sometime in the first or second week of November, depending on when both the ‘no-board’ reports are issued.

“Pulling the trigger on bargaining talks on the fourth day of talks was premature, unnecessary, and reckless,” said John Halik, spokesperson for CUPE 2936.07, representing full-time workers at CLDN. “Management knew that workers’ representatives were going to meet with the provincial government to find out how funding designated for front-line workers will be distributed in the province. It would have been prudent for management to know the outcome of the meeting that would help both parties reach a fair deal, but, instead, we are in this situation that could potentially compromise services that supported individuals rely on.”

Both parties are scheduled for mediation talks on October 27 with the help of a mediator. “We are urging management to come back to mediation talks with the full intention of bargaining respectfully and fairly so we can achieve a fair deal and avoid a service disruption that would hurt the supported individuals that we care for,” concluded McArthur.

For more information, please contact:

Mary McArthur, Spokesperson for CUPE 2936.11, 519-981-9871

Jacqui Lancaster, CUPE National Representative, 905-242-7654

James Chai, CUPE Communications, 905-739-3999                       

Fact Sheet: Ebola virus disease

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 19:00

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe disease that causes haemorrhagic fever in humans and animals. Diseases that cause haemorrhagic fevers affect the body’s vascular system (how blood moves through the body). They can lead to significant internal bleeding, organ failure, and are often fatal.

Background

EVD was first identified in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in Africa, including one near the Ebola river, where the disease got its name. There are five known species of Ebola: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Taï Forest and Reston. The first three species, Zaire, Bundibugyo, and Sudan, have been associated with large outbreaks in Africa. The Reston species is not associated with disease in humans. The virus causing the 2014 West African outbreak belongs to the Zaire species.

Symptoms

Recent studies have shown that 95 per cent of patients that become infected by an exposure to EVD will show symptoms in two to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. The first symptoms are the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness and fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. The disease progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in stool). Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts, and elevated liver enzymes. EVD infections can only be confirmed through laboratory testing.

Transmission

Person-to-person transmission from an infected individual is the most likely form of transmission in North America. EVD can be transmitted via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes of the eyes, nose or mouth) with:

  • Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen.
  • Objects (e.g. needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus.
  • Surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding and clothing) contaminated with these fluids.

Transmission is most likely when EVD-infected people are symptomatic but not yet diagnosed. CUPE members who work as health care workers, first responders and in airline transportation are at the highest risk of exposure because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of infected people before effective protocols are put into place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Ebola is not spread through the air or by water. However, activities that put an unaffected person close enough (one metre) to come into contact with the airborne contaminates from aerosol-generating events are at high risk of contracting EVD. Aerosol-generating events include coughs, sneezes, profuse diarrhea or vomiting.

People remain infectious as long as their blood and body fluids, including semen and breast milk, contain the virus. According to the CDC men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to three months after recovery from illness.

There is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread the virus. Though transmission from animals is possible, this is not a significant concern in North America.

Treatment

Currently, the prognosis of a person infected by EVD is poor. Estimates of the fatality rate of people affected by EVD range from 50 to 90 per cent. Survival rates are greatly improved with the use of supportive treatments such as rehydration care with oral or intravenous fluids and the treatment of specific symptoms such as pain, nausea, fever, anxiety, and dialysis when there is kidney failure. In extreme cases, blood transfusion and clotting agents have been used to reduce the negative effects of internal and external bleeding. There are currently no 100 per cent-proven treatments available for EVD.

Prevention and control

It is CUPE’s position that any worker that is likely to be exposed to the Ebola virus should be protected. Appropriate personal protective equipment as well as training on its use and related procedures must be provided before an incident of potential exposure occurs. All workers also have the right to refuse work they feel is unsafe, or that they are not trained to perform safely.

General members of the public are at low risk, but because of the severity of the disease, everyone has a role to play to prevent it from spreading. The World Health Organization notes that “Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Raising awareness of risk factors for Ebola infection and protective measures that individuals can take is an effective way to reduce human transmission.”

The first way to control an outbreak of Ebola is for the public to remain calm but vigilant. While most people are unlikely to be in a situation that exposes them to the Ebola virus, it is important to recognize symptoms, and contact or report to an appropriate medical facility for screening. Many of the early symptoms mimic the early stages of a common cold or flu. But anyone having symptoms, including a fever, who may have been in a place where they could have been infected, should first contact their local public health services. If they cannot be reached, all provinces have telehealth systems (numbers listed below) that can be contacted. They will advise whether it is appropriate to go to the emergency room, or what other steps you should take to receive treatment.

A person with a suspected or confirmed case of EVD will be placed in quarantine and a specialist team will work to identify people who may have been in contact with the infected person, particularly in the period after they developed symptoms. Those who were in contact are unlikely to spread the disease unless they start to show symptoms, so monitoring the health of identified groups for 21 days and separating the healthy from the sick can prevent further spread of the disease.

CUPE members who do not work in a medical setting but do routinely deal with the public and have concerns about being exposed may also take preventive measures. Employers should be encouraged to provide N95 masks for workers, as well as free disposable face masks and approved disinfecting hand rubs for clients. Workers dealing with the public should frequently sanitize their hands and disinfect surfaces around their work areas. Keep a safe distance from anyone exhibiting symptoms and avoid touching your face and neck.

Gloves can create a false sense of security. Unless you’re handling items that are likely to be contaminated, or you have an open wound on your hand, gloves provide little additional protection. Avoid touching your face or neck with or without gloves.

The care of infected individuals must be administered by health care workers carefully observing a high level of barrier separation from the infected person, along with certain cleaning and disinfecting techniques.

CUPE has prepared several position papers with recommendations for occupational protection from EVD for the following groups:

  • Health care providers
  • Health care support staff
  • Paramedics
  • Flight attendants

This information can be obtained by contacting the health and safety branch.

Residual transmission prevention

Though scientific studies have been conducted, it is not currently known exactly how long the Ebola virus can last outside the human body on contaminated surfaces. Estimates of several days are not unreasonable. As such, contaminated surfaces, clothing, materials etc. can still spread the disease for a significant amount of time. Until every surface or material has been effectively decontaminated, protective measures must remain in place.

The Ebola virus can be eliminated with heat, alcohol-based products, or bleach. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the virus is susceptible to 3 per cent acetic acid, 1 per cent glutaraldehyde, alcohol-based products, and a 10-minute exposure to dilutions of 1:10 of 5.25 per cent household bleach (sodium hypochlorite), or bleach powder (calcium hypochlorite). For surfaces that may corrode or discolour, they recommend careful cleaning to remove visible stains followed by contact with a 1:100 dilution of 5.25 per cent household bleach for more than 10 minutes. For other surfaces Ebola will be deactivated by heating to 60°C for at least 60 minutes, or boiling for at least five minutes. Gamma irradiation (1.2 x106 rads to 1.27 x106 rads) combined with 1 per cent glutaraldehyde is also effective at rendering the virus inert.

Provincial telehealth/telemedicine phone numbers British Columbia
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Quebec
Prince Edward Island
Dial 811 Alberta 1-866-408-5465 Saskatchewan 1-877-800-0002 Manitoba 1-888-315-9257 Ontario 1-866-797-0000 Newfoundland 1-888-709-2929


Much of the information for this fact sheet was retrieved from sources at the following:

Packed town hall meeting rejects Harper vision for health care

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 18:00

Moist, Barlow, local residents call for protection and expansion of Medicare

CAMPBELL RIVER—More than 200 people crammed into the Maritime Heritage Centre here on Monday night (October 20), as CUPE National President Paul Moist and Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow led a spirited town hall meeting that called for an end to the Harper Conservative government’s gutting of public health care.

The meeting, sponsored by the Council of Canadians and the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU), took place on what would have been the 110th birthday of the father of Medicare, Tommy Douglas.

With cuts to Medicare expected to reach $36 billion ($5 billion of that in B.C. alone) over the next ten years, Canadians in every region of the country and across party lines are speaking out in defence of public health care, Moist told the crowd.

“Medicare remains the number one social program in Canada, across all income groups,” he said. “But without federal leadership it could not have been established across the country. From day one the federal government has put in 50 per cent of Medicare funding.  By 2024, federal funding will have fallen to under 13 per cent.”

The federal government’s retreat from its commitment to health care is far more significant than simply the $36 billion in cuts, according to Moist.  He also pointed to the litany of programs and services that the Harper Conservatives have abandoned for ideological reasons.

“The Conservatives walked away from discussions with the provinces to control the cost of drugs and forge a national drug coverage program. They closed the Health Council of Canada. They cut health care for veterans. They cut refugee health coverage. They refused to uphold the Canada Health Act’s protections for patients against user fees and extra billing. And they walked away from providing coverage for home and continuing care.”

Barlow echoed Moist’s call to keep the defense of public health care front and centre in the news.

“This isn’t just semantics for people. This is people’s lives. It’s life and death, and that’s what we talking about tonight,” she said.

Challenging the right-wing orthodoxy pushing public-private partnerships, Barlow argued that a quality health care system can be properly funded if corporate Canada paid its fair share.

“Canadians for Tax Fairness say that $185 billion a year would be saved if we closed loopholes for offshore tax havens,” she said, to a gasp from the crowd.

Lois Jarvis, from Citizens For Quality Health Care, recounted heartbreaking stories from the U.S.– of a family twice bankrupted by health care costs and of a hospital with no emergency department – as a warning of what is in store for Canada if the Harper government is allowed to keep dismantling the system.

“For profit companies cherry pick their patients,” said Jarvis. “Private clinics have higher rates of complications post op, because they push through as many patients as possible. Patients with chronic health conditions are often left uninsured and without available health care because they are not considered profitable for private insurance companies.”

During the open floor discussion, HEU President Victor Elkins spoke of how privatization and cutbacks have turned health care into a real estate venture, with space in hospitals now coming at a premium.

“They are turning health care, seniors care, into property services,” said Elkins.

Dave Coles, former national president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, said that frontline workers are compromising their own personal safety because of the cuts to Medicare.

“The cuts are not just about patient care. They are also about workers who go to work and want to come home safely. And this government is absolutely responsible for the suffering that’s going on right now,” said Coles, who is currently seeking the nomination as the federal NDP candidate for the newly-created Vancouver North Island - Powell River riding.

Union Coalition Set to Demonstrate in Longueuil Tuesday Evening

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 15:30

Longueuil, Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – The Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation [Union Coalition for Free Negotiation] will be taking part in a demonstration this evening outside of Longueuil city hall in support of local municipal employees. Participants will be speaking out against Bill 3 of the Liberal government and the deceptively conciliatory stance taken by the mayor of Longueuil on the issue. The event will coincide with a meeting of Longueuil city council scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

  • WHO: Members of the Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation representing more than 65,000 firefighters, police officers, white and blue collar workers, professionals and public transportation employees
  • Marc Ranger, spokesperson, and other Coalition leaders.
  • WHAT: Demonstration outside of Longueuil City Hall against the mayor’s support of Bill 3 on pension plans for municipal workers
  • WHEN: Tuesday, October 21, starting at 6:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Outside of Longueuil city hall at 4250 de la Savane Road

The Coalition comprises more than 65,000 white and blue-collar workers, firefighters, police officers, professionals and public transportation employees. It represents virtually all unionized municipal employees in Quebec. Its detailed platform is available online at librenego.com.

The Coalition consists of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-Quebec) and its Municipal Sector Provincial Council as well as its ground transport sector, the Fédération des employées et employés de services publics (FEESP-CSN), the Fédération indépendante des syndicats autonomes (FISA), the Fédération des policiers et policières municipaux du Québec, the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal, the Association des pompiers de Montréal, the Regroupement des associations de pompiers du Québec and the Syndicat des pompiers et pompières du Québec – FTQ.

Information:
Sébastien Goulet, Communications, Coalition
mobile: 438-882-3756 – sgoulet@scfp.qc.ca

Ariane Gagné, Communications, CSN, 514-349-1300

Ontario government indifference fostering systemic neglect, hastening incontinence of LTC residents, finds PSW, RPN focus group study

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 15:15

GERALDTON, ON — Ontario government indifference to care quality, provincial policies and low funding for long-term care are fostering systemic neglect of residents, say personal support workers (PSWs) and registered practical nurses (RPNs) who took part in intensive focus group sessions in five Ontario communities.

“What PSWs and RPNs told us are frank, powerful and often heartbreaking accounts of how, despite their outmost efforts and dedication they are forced to provide what amounts to substandard care to residents,” said Kevin Tyrrell a regional vice-president with the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) in releasing the focus group report – Long-Term Care in Ontario: Fostering Systemic Neglect – at a Geraldton media conference today. 

While the PSWs and RPNs said while they stay in the field because they have an affinity for the work and genuine care for residents, they are demoralized and defeated by routine understaffing and chronically low staffing levels which are resulting in lonely, isolated and often depressed residents. PSWs and RPNs simply don’t have adequate time to provide residents with the social and emotional care they desperately need, said the focus group participants.

It’s the provision of emotional care – that is key to providing LTC residents with a “home” to live in, rather than a facility where they are simply “warehoused”, said Dorothy Winterburn a PSW who told of her own challenges in providing care quality she can proud of.

91 per cent of the study participants said they are not able to provide good quality care, while 97 per cent identified not enough staff and heavy workloads as the key reasons they cannot provide quality care. They identified dangerously high resident to staff ratios – up to 15 residents per PSW on dayshifts and up to 42 residents per PSW on nightshifts. RPN staffing ranged from 30-42 per resident on both the day and nightshift.

The report calls for a legislated four hour daily care standard and a higher ratio of direct care staff.

Chronic understaffing and short-staffing is fueling a barrage of injuries (in both residents and staff), infection, bed sores, abuse and unsafe work practices. Short-staffing they said is hastening incontinence and loss of mobility in residents because there are not enough PSWs to toilet residents as needed. “This is the ultimate indignity for residents. They deserve much better.”

Lax infection control and delayed testing of new residents for common infection and unsafe situations where there is “no one on the floor”. A huge concern they say in cases of evacuation or other emergencies.

All those interviewed said they had residents suffering from dementia and almost all (97 per cent) said they had residents in their assignments with cognitive behaviours such as aggression, wandering, and hoarding.

Download a PDF copy of Pushed Out of Hospital, Abandoned at Home.

For more information please contact:

Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications: 416-559-9300

CUPE urges “sober second thought” from CBRM on cuts to staffing and services

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 14:30

CUPE National Representative Wanda Power says, “They are voting tonight on an operating reserve that’s upwards of $500,000, while at the same time cutting 28 positions in our outside worker compliment, eight school crossing guard locations and vital transit services.

“While the delay in transit cuts until January is a good thing,” says Power, “we don’t believe these cuts should be made at all, especially with a reserve sitting there.”

Power says the union applauds the initiative of Glace Bay resident Bill Davies, who’s collected eight pages of signatures on a petition against the transit cuts. He plans to present the petition to Mayor Clarke.

Says Power, “As we said this past May when these cuts were announced, the mayor and council need to take a much closer look at contracting in some of the work that’s been handed over to private contractors. We believe that is where you can achieve efficiencies and save taxpayers’ money.”

CUPE members at CBRM are outside workers in Local 759, inside workers in Local 933 and crossing guards in Local 761.

Coalition to Wall: Don’t turn your back on Tommy’s legacy

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 18:15

REGINA - Today, on Tommy Douglas’s birthday, concerned groups are joining together to raise awareness about the creeping privatization of health care in Saskatchewan.

“Tommy Douglas was born 110 years ago today. His contributions to this province and this country are remembered as some of the great achievements in Canadian history,” said Stan Rice, president of the Saskatchewan Health Coalition. “But in Saskatchewan, his greatest legacy – public Medicare – is being attacked.”

Since elected in 2007, Brad Wall has been slowly chipping away at public health care.

“From privatizing hospital laundry to contracting out day surgeries to new public-private partnerships for infrastructure, what we are seeing is a sell-off of our most valued public service,” said Barb Cape, president of SEIU-West. “Our province was a leader in creating public Medicare, but our provincial government is turning its back on this legacy.”

Premier Brad Wall is now considering introducing a private, pay-per-use MRI service where patients can pay for priority treatment and move ahead of the queue. The government has suggested private services will reduce wait times, but all of the evidence from other jurisdictions shows for-profit clinics poach scarce health professionals from the public system, exacerbate wait times and increase the cost of health services.

“One of the biggest barriers to accessing health services is long wait times, yet in Alberta, where private clinics exist, data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows the typical patient waits almost 3 times longer for an MRI than in Saskatchewan,” notes SUN president, Tracy Zambory. “Pan-Canadian evidence and data must be at the centre of any discussions on this issue.” 

“The evidence is quite clear, when parallel for-profit health services are introduced, the result is greater wait times and growing inequities within the public system. In these systems the patients in greatest need wait longer while those who can afford it pay to receive priority treatment,” said Dr. Ryan Meili, vice-chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “There are better solutions to wait times, and they involve strengthening Medicare, not undermining it.” 

“If Brad Wall is serious about reducing waitlists, and serious about providing high quality patient care, the Saskatchewan government needs to start investing in public infrastructure, like the Plains Surgery Centre in Regina,” said Gordon Campbell, president of the CUPE Health Care Council.  “It is time for the government to stop expanding the profit margins of private companies, and start investing in public infrastructure and public solutions.”

Background of privatization in Saskatchewan

In 2007, when Brad Wall and the Sask. Party were elected, they promised to not privatize public services.

However, Brad Wall’s right wing government is moving to privatize many of Saskatchewan’s public services and crown corporations. Health care is seeing the full brunt of the privatization agenda. 

In Regina, more and more services are being contracted out to for-profit corporations. Aspen Medical has been given contracts to perform close to 40 types of day surgeries. Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region contracts out 42,500 CT scans per year to the Radiology Associates of Regina and 5,500 MRIs a year to Mayfair Diagnostics Regina. Endoscopy services are also going to be contracted out to an unknown private, for-profit company starting in May 2015. 

In Saskatoon, a private company, SurgiCentre Inc, is also performing surgeries. In North Battleford, the new Sask. Hospital will be privately financed, built and maintained. Similarly, the new long term care home in Swift Current is also a P3. In 2010, The Ministry of Health announced a pilot funding project for a 100-bed long term care facility to be privately built, owned and operated by Amicus Health Care in Saskatoon.  This facility, known as Samaritan Place, was created using a funding arrangement that resembles a P3 model, and it was acknowledged that transparency was lacking in this project. 

In May of 2010, the government of Saskatchewan announced it would be closing six regional hospital laundries, and K-Bro Linens of Alberta would build a new private laundry facility in Regina to service the province.  Over 300 workers in Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina, Yorkton, Weyburn and Moose Jaw will lose their jobs.

The government is now looking at developing business cases for over ten hospital services, including food services, pharmacies, laboratories, medical transcription and facility management,  that may lead to further privatization.

The latest move towards private MRIs is in direct conflict with previous statements from Brad Wall. In 2008, Brad Wall said, “The premier said offering medical services such as an MRI for a fee “seems to be outside the Canada Health Act” and is an area where the government doesn’t want to tread.”

Coalition to Wall: Don’t turn your back on Tommy’s legacy

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 18:15

REGINA - Today, on Tommy Douglas’s birthday, concerned groups are joining together to raise awareness about the creeping privatization of health care in Saskatchewan.

“Tommy Douglas was born 110 years ago today. His contributions to this province and this country are remembered as some of the great achievements in Canadian history,” said Stan Rice, president of the Saskatchewan Health Coalition. “But in Saskatchewan, his greatest legacy – public Medicare – is being attacked.”

Since elected in 2007, Brad Wall has been slowly chipping away at public health care.

“From privatizing hospital laundry to contracting out day surgeries to new public-private partnerships for infrastructure, what we are seeing is a sell-off of our most valued public service,” said Barb Cape, president of SEIU-West. “Our province was a leader in creating public Medicare, but our provincial government is turning its back on this legacy.”

Premier Brad Wall is now considering introducing a private, pay-per-use MRI service where patients can pay for priority treatment and move ahead of the queue. The government has suggested private services will reduce wait times, but all of the evidence from other jurisdictions shows for-profit clinics poach scarce health professionals from the public system, exacerbate wait times and increase the cost of health services.

“One of the biggest barriers to accessing health services is long wait times, yet in Alberta, where private clinics exist, data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows the typical patient waits almost 3 times longer for an MRI than in Saskatchewan,” notes SUN president, Tracy Zambory. “Pan-Canadian evidence and data must be at the centre of any discussions on this issue.” 

“The evidence is quite clear, when parallel for-profit health services are introduced, the result is greater wait times and growing inequities within the public system. In these systems the patients in greatest need wait longer while those who can afford it pay to receive priority treatment,” said Dr. Ryan Meili, vice-chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “There are better solutions to wait times, and they involve strengthening Medicare, not undermining it.” 

“If Brad Wall is serious about reducing waitlists, and serious about providing high quality patient care, the Saskatchewan government needs to start investing in public infrastructure, like the Plains Surgery Centre in Regina,” said Gordon Campbell, president of the CUPE Health Care Council.  “It is time for the government to stop expanding the profit margins of private companies, and start investing in public infrastructure and public solutions.”

Background of privatization in Saskatchewan

In 2007, when Brad Wall and the Sask. Party were elected, they promised to not privatize public services.

However, Brad Wall’s right wing government is moving to privatize many of Saskatchewan’s public services and crown corporations. Health care is seeing the full brunt of the privatization agenda. 

In Regina, more and more services are being contracted out to for-profit corporations. Aspen Medical has been given contracts to perform close to 40 types of day surgeries. Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region contracts out 42,500 CT scans per year to the Radiology Associates of Regina and 5,500 MRIs a year to Mayfair Diagnostics Regina. Endoscopy services are also going to be contracted out to an unknown private, for-profit company starting in May 2015. 

In Saskatoon, a private company, SurgiCentre Inc, is also performing surgeries. In North Battleford, the new Sask. Hospital will be privately financed, built and maintained. Similarly, the new long term care home in Swift Current is also a P3. In 2010, The Ministry of Health announced a pilot funding project for a 100-bed long term care facility to be privately built, owned and operated by Amicus Health Care in Saskatoon.  This facility, known as Samaritan Place, was created using a funding arrangement that resembles a P3 model, and it was acknowledged that transparency was lacking in this project. 

In May of 2010, the government of Saskatchewan announced it would be closing six regional hospital laundries, and K-Bro Linens of Alberta would build a new private laundry facility in Regina to service the province.  Over 300 workers in Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina, Yorkton, Weyburn and Moose Jaw will lose their jobs.

The government is now looking at developing business cases for over ten hospital services, including food services, pharmacies, laboratories, medical transcription and facility management,  that may lead to further privatization.

The latest move towards private MRIs is in direct conflict with previous statements from Brad Wall. In 2008, Brad Wall said, “The premier said offering medical services such as an MRI for a fee “seems to be outside the Canada Health Act” and is an area where the government doesn’t want to tread.”

CUPE supporting Gainsborough flood relief

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 21:30

On October 16, CUPE representatives stepped up to help with flood relief efforts in Gainsborough.
Roughly 280 people live in the village of Gainsborough. The entire village was affected by flooding, including the hospital. The hospital was evacuated, with patients being dispersed to other medical centres in the region.

Many CUPE members in the region were also impacted, and the union is involved with the campaign to help families.

CUPE Saskatchewan, CUPE Health Care Council and CUPE National teamed up to donate $8,000 to the South Saskatchewan Flood Relief. Representatives of the organization were on hand to accept the cheque.

“Over 29,000 CUPE members across this province stand with the families of Gainsborough that have had to deal with the destruction of flooding,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan.

CUPE Local 5999, which represents health care workers at Sun Country Health Authority, has also been offering financial support and volunteer time to help with flood relief efforts. It raised over $2,000 for flood relief.

“CUPE members are proud of their communities, and we saw the suffering that people felt during the flooding,” said Sandra Seitz, President of CUPE Local 5999. “We wanted to help out in any way we could.”

In the photo, please note:

Tom Graham, President CUPE Saskatchewan, Gordon Campbell, President CUPE Health Care Council and Sandra Seitz, President Local 5999 present a cheque for $8,000 to help with flood relief to Elaine Revet, Gainsborough resident and CUPE member and Marj Nystee from South Saskatchewan Flood Relief.

CUPE supporting Gainsborough flood relief

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 21:30

On October 16, CUPE representatives stepped up to help with flood relief efforts in Gainsborough.
Roughly 280 people live in the village of Gainsborough. The entire village was affected by flooding, including the hospital. The hospital was evacuated, with patients being dispersed to other medical centres in the region.

Many CUPE members in the region were also impacted, and the union is involved with the campaign to help families.

CUPE Saskatchewan, CUPE Health Care Council and CUPE National teamed up to donate $8,000 to the South Saskatchewan Flood Relief. Representatives of the organization were on hand to accept the cheque.

“Over 29,000 CUPE members across this province stand with the families of Gainsborough that have had to deal with the destruction of flooding,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan.

CUPE Local 5999, which represents health care workers at Sun Country Health Authority, has also been offering financial support and volunteer time to help with flood relief efforts. It raised over $2,000 for flood relief.

“CUPE members are proud of their communities, and we saw the suffering that people felt during the flooding,” said Sandra Seitz, President of CUPE Local 5999. “We wanted to help out in any way we could.”

In the photo, please note:

Tom Graham, President CUPE Saskatchewan, Gordon Campbell, President CUPE Health Care Council and Sandra Seitz, President Local 5999 present a cheque for $8,000 to help with flood relief to Elaine Revet, Gainsborough resident and CUPE member and Marj Nystee from South Saskatchewan Flood Relief.

MRIs should stay public, says CUPE.

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 16:00

REGINA: CUPE is concerned that Brad Wall is floating the idea of private MRIs.

The cost of private MRI scans fluctuates between $600 and $1,000 across the country. There have been concerns that private options for MRIs mean that only people who can pay can receive medically necessary procedures in a timely manner.

“What we are talking about is a two tier system, where the people who are able to pay get access to the services quicker – regardless of need,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “While the rich get MRIs, the rest of us still have to wait.”

CUPE has further concerns about what private MRIs might mean for the existing staffing complement.

“Private clinics will make staff shortages we are already facing worse,” stated Gordon Campbell, President of CUPE Health Care Council. “This doesn’t add new staffing capacity – it poaches from the public system.”

“Private MRI clinics are not a proven method for reducing wait times. In the last 12 years, MRI waitlists have gone from 22 months to 3 months, so we are obviously doing something right,” added Graham. “We need to keep investing in public solutions.”

The long awaited development of the Plains Surgical Centre, a public day surgery centre in Regina, would go a long way in adding capacity for MRIs and other medical diagnostic procedures.

The 2008 RFP for this project outlined plans for six operating rooms with the capacity to perform 7,000 outpatient surgical procedures a year, a new diagnostic imaging centre and a pre-admission clinic for all surgical patients in the region.

MRIs should stay public, says CUPE

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 16:00

REGINA: CUPE is concerned that Brad Wall is floating the idea of private MRIs.

The cost of private MRI scans fluctuates between $600 and $1,000 across the country. There have been concerns that private options for MRIs mean that only people who can pay can receive medically necessary procedures in a timely manner.

“What we are talking about is a two tier system, where the people who are able to pay get access to the services quicker – regardless of need,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “While the rich get MRIs, the rest of us still have to wait.”

CUPE has further concerns about what private MRIs might mean for the existing staffing complement.

“Private clinics will make staff shortages we are already facing worse,” stated Gordon Campbell, President of CUPE Health Care Council. “This doesn’t add new staffing capacity – it poaches from the public system.”

“Private MRI clinics are not a proven method for reducing wait times. In the last 12 years, MRI waitlists have gone from 22 months to 3 months, so we are obviously doing something right,” added Graham. “We need to keep investing in public solutions.”

The long awaited development of the Plains Surgical Centre, a public day surgery centre in Regina, would go a long way in adding capacity for MRIs and other medical diagnostic procedures.

The 2008 RFP for this project outlined plans for six operating rooms with the capacity to perform 7,000 outpatient surgical procedures a year, a new diagnostic imaging centre and a pre-admission clinic for all surgical patients in the region.

Townhall meeting: North Battleford P3 hospital

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 16:00

Health care workers in the Prairie North Health Authority are growing more concerned about the New Sask. Hospital, which is being built as a public-private partnership.

In order to learn about some of the issues associated with P3 hospitals, CUPE and the Council of Canadians have organized a town hall meeting on October 22 to discuss the possible impacts of the new P3 hospital.

When: October 22 at 7:00 pm

Where: Dekker Centre, 623 Carlton Trail, North Battleford

Speakers: 

Maude Barlow, author of Profit Is Not the Cure: A Citizen’s Guide to Saving Medicare and Chairperson of the Council of Canadians

Paul Moist, National President of CUPE

Simon Enoch, Director of the Saskatchewan Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Len Taylor, former MLA

Ontario government indifference fostering neglect of frail LTC residents

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:45

GERALDTON, Ont. – The findings of a focus group study of personal support workers (PSWs) and registered practical nurses (RPNs) working in long-term care (LTC) will be released at an 11:00 a.m. media conference in Geraldton, Tuesday October 21, 2014.

Since the mid-1990s, when a mandatory daily LTC resident care level was eliminated by the then provincial government, staffing levels have not kept pace with the ever-increasing, complex care needs of residents, the majority of whom are over 80 years old.

Statistics Canada reports that Ontario spends $155.30 per long-term care resident a day. This is far less spending on residential care facilities than other provinces. Only New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island spend less.

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) spoke with dozens of PSWs and RPNs working in long-term care in five different Ontario communities to determine how provincial policies and funding levels were affecting the kind of care they are currently able to provide residents.

OCHU also asked the focus group PSWs and RPNs to comment on what better care would look like and what resources would be necessary in order to ensure its delivery.

The findings of the study entitled, Long-Term Care in Ontario: Fostering Systemic Neglect, will be released at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday October 21, at the Geraldton Recreation Centre (Lobby), 200 Wardrope Avenue Southeast, Geraldton.

For more information, please contact:
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, 416-559-9300

Conferences continue in:

Hearst on Wednesday October 22 at 10 a.m. 
Place des Arts de Hearst - 75 Ninth Street, Hearst, ON

Hornepayne on Wednesday October 22 at 2 p.m. 
Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 194 - 48 Sixth Avenue, Hornepayne, ON

Bill 3 on Pension Plans: Union Coalition Holds Major Meeting and Demonstration in Montréal

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 19:30

More than 1,000 representatives of the Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation [Union Coalition for Free Negotiation] gathered this past Thursday at the Montreal Convention Centre to adopt a mobilization plan. The plan confirmed that a “Grand Dérangement,” or 24-hour work stoppage, would take place within the next few weeks along with a series of demonstrations.

After the meeting, the attendees made their way over to demonstrate outside of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel on René-Lévesque Boulevard West from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The hotel was hosting the “Grand forum pour de nouveaux partenariats” [Major Forum for New Partnerships] organized by the Institute for Public-Private Partnerships and the Union of Quebec Municipalities. Numerous representatives of the Couillard government and municipal officials were in attendance at that event along with representatives of major companies and firms. As a reminder to the event guests, the approximately 2,000 demonstrators with the Coalition chanted their slogan, “On n’a rien volé (nous)” (“We aren’t the ones who stole”).

“Municipal workers are rallying en masse against a government that is shooting in the dark at everything that moves,” explained Coalition spokesperson Marc Ranger. “Despite all the solutions and compromises we have adopted and proposed, no substantial changes have been made to Bill 3. No effort has been made all this time to allow for real negotiations.”

“Like a lot of people in Quebec these days, municipal workers are having a hard time getting the Liberal government to listen to them,” stated Paulin Aubé of the FPMQ, Ronald Martin of the APM and RAPQ, Yves Francoeur of the FPPM, Denis Marcoux of the FEESP-CSN and Jean Gagnon of the FISA. “And so we’re moving on to the next action phase. Our intention is to cause as little disruption as possible for the general public and as much as possible for those who are trying to take away our pension plans.”

The morning meeting also provided an opportunity to share information on upcoming legal disputes. The participants also passed a resolution supporting Ronald Martin and other municipal workers in Montréal targeted by sanctions.

The Coalition comprises more than 65,000 members including white and blue-collar workers, firefighters, police officers, professionals and public transportation employees. It represents virtually all unionized municipal employees in Quebec. Its detailed platform is available online at librenego.com.

The Coalition consists of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-Quebec) and its Municipal Sector Provincial Council as well as its ground transport sector, the Fédération des employées et employés de services publics (FEESP-CSN), the Fédération indépendante des syndicats autonomes (FISA), the Fédération des policiers et policières municipaux du Québec, the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal, the Association des pompiers de Montréal, the Regroupement des associations de pompiers du Québec and the Syndicat des pompiers et pompières du Québec – FTQ.

On the 40th anniversary of public child care services in Clarence-Rockland, families gather to celebrate and promote municipal child care

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 19:15

CLARENCE-ROCKLAND, ON – On Saturday, October 18, parents, children and child care workers will be among those gathering to celebrate the proud 40th anniversary of municipal child care services in Clarence-Rockland.

The afternoon festivities will be held in honour of nine municipal child care centres serving 700 children and their families throughout Clarence-Rockland’s communities. The event, which offers face-painting for youngsters, children’s performers and bouncy castles, is open to everyone.

An information session will also take place from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., offering parents and early childhood educators (ECEs) the opportunity to share their experiences on the positive impact that child care services have had on children and their families. They will also use the occasion to urge the protection and promotion of municipal child care services in their communities. Concerns about the provincial government’s new funding formula, which has had an impact on the cost of child care services to families, will also be addressed.

“There is a municipal election coming up in October and concerned residents and parents will be asking their councillors how they intend to protect and promote municipal day care in Clarence-Rockland,” said Brian Madden, President of Local 503 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The union represents ECEs at Clarence-Rockland’s municipal child care centres and is the proud sponsor of Saturday’s event.

Research shows that quality child care and early learning benefit children, parents and the economy by returning $1.50 to government coffers for every $1 invested in programs.

Members of the media are invited to attend Saturday’s celebration.

Who:
Children, parents, child care workers and special guests

What:
Celebration of the 40th anniversary of municipal child care in Clarence-Rockland

When:
Saturday, October 18, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Information session for parents from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Speakers to include:

  • Thérèse Lefaivre, Director of Community Services for Clarence-Rockland
  • Anne Morris Bouchard, Manager of Daycare Services for Clarence-Rockland
  • Julie Bourbonnais, parent of child

Where:
Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena, 1450 du Parc Avenue, Rockland, Ontario

For information, contact:

Jean-Marc Bézaire, CUPE National Representative
613-293-8163 or e-mail jbezaire@cupe.ca

Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, CUPE Local 503
613-292-8902 or e-mail clpoolecotnam@cupe503.com

Mary Unan, CUPE Communications
905-739-3999 ext. 240 or 647-390-9839 (cell)

On the 40th anniversary of public child care services in Clarence-Rockland, families gather to celebrate and promote municipal child care

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 19:15

CLARENCE-ROCKLAND, ON – On Saturday, October 18, parents, children and child care workers will be among those gathering to celebrate the proud 40th anniversary of municipal child care services in Clarence-Rockland.

The afternoon festivities will be held in honour of nine municipal child care centres serving 700 children and their families throughout Clarence-Rockland’s communities. The event, which offers face-painting for youngsters, children’s performers and bouncy castles, is open to everyone.

An information session will also take place from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., offering parents and early childhood educators (ECEs) the opportunity to share their experiences on the positive impact that child care services have had on children and their families. They will also use the occasion to urge the protection and promotion of municipal child care services in their communities. Concerns about the provincial government’s new funding formula, which has had an impact on the cost of child care services to families, will also be addressed.

“There is a municipal election coming up in October and concerned residents and parents will be asking their councillors how they intend to protect and promote municipal day care in Clarence-Rockland,” said Brian Madden, President of Local 503 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The union represents ECEs at Clarence-Rockland’s municipal child care centres and is the proud sponsor of Saturday’s event.

Research shows that quality child care and early learning benefit children, parents and the economy by returning $1.50 to government coffers for every $1 invested in programs.

Members of the media are invited to attend Saturday’s celebration.

Who:
Children, parents, child care workers and special guests

What:
Celebration of the 40th anniversary of municipal child care in Clarence-Rockland

When:
Saturday, October 18, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Information session for parents from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Speakers to include:

  • Thérèse Lefaivre, Director of Community Services for Clarence-Rockland
  • Anne Morris Bouchard, Manager of Daycare Services for Clarence-Rockland
  • Julie Bourbonnais, parent of child

Where:
Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena, 1450 du Parc Avenue, Rockland, Ontario

For information, contact:

Jean-Marc Bézaire, CUPE National Representative
613-293-8163 or e-mail jbezaire@cupe.ca

Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, CUPE Local 503
613-292-8902 or e-mail clpoolecotnam@cupe503.com

Mary Unan, CUPE Communications
905-739-3999 ext. 240 or 647-390-9839 (cell)

Education workers meet to discuss rapid changes in education, E.A. cuts and bargaining plans

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 15:30

REGINA - Education workers from across the province are meeting in Regina from October 16 – 18 to discuss the effect changes in education has on student learning, review bargaining gains and talk about the education budget, LEAN, P3 schools and their impact on education.

WHO: Over 75 education workers are gathering for CUPE’s Education Workers’ Conference. CUPE represents 8,000 support workers in Pre-K – 12 education, including education assistants, facility operators, administrative assistants, clerical assistants, secretaries, school bus drivers, caretakers, maintenance workers, library assistants, nutrition coordinators, information technicians,  social workers, counsellors, community school coordinators, interpreters, speech and language assistants,  braillists and other school support workers.

WHY: This annual gathering is an important opportunity to discuss impacts of rapid changes in education and to strategize on what CUPE members can do.

WHEN: October 16 – 18, 2014

WHERE: Ramada Plaza, 1818 Victoria Avenue, Regina, Saskatchewan

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Honourable Don Morgan, Minister of Education, Thursday, October 16 at 1:00 p.m.

  • Tom Graham, President CUPE Saskatchewan, Thursday, October 16 at 1:45 p.m.

  • Larry Hubich, President Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, Thursday, October 16 2:00 p.m.

  • Trent Wotherspoon, NDP Education Critic, Friday, October 17 at 8:30 a.m.

In addition to the impact of education changes, conference participants will discuss occupational health and safety, working towards coordinated bargaining and Saskatchewan bargaining achievements.

“We see first-hand how changes affect students in Saskatchewan schools,” states Jackie Christianson, Chairperson of the CUPE SK Education Workers Steering Committee.  Christianson says that “implementing changes, such as the Education Funding Model, LEAN, P3 schools and the Saskatchewan Employment Act, will have a ripple effect and affect students’ ability to learn”.

Province has millions of dollars for bailouts for MaRS but lower funding for child care

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:30

TORONTO, Ont. – In what seems a clear case of “misplaced priorities”, child care advocates are left aghast at why Ontario’s Liberals are choking funding for child care, fueling widespread closures of centres province-wide and leaving thousands of families without licensed care, while giving hundreds of millions of dollars in bailouts to MaRS.  

With revelations that the province is paying nearly a half a million dollars a month to cover loan payments on the MaRS building tower and $309 million to buy out the developer, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, today challenged the Ontario Liberals’ “skewed funding priorities. Millions of dollars are going to maintain a nearly empty MaRS building, while child care centres are closing and families needing care for their children are being left in the lurch.”

In the last few months alone, Chatham/Kent, Sarnia/Lambton and Sudbury voted to close their municipal (fully public) child care centres because the province’s new funding model for child care which partially hinges on growth is transferring millions of dollars less to their economically-hard hit and slow growing communities.

Chatham/Kent council recently voted to close two municipal centres following a $1.4 million cut in provincial funding this year. “If you do the math, that cut to child care funding for Chatham/Kent totals to about three months worth of MaRS interest payments. In effect the new funding formula is punishing communities for factors beyond their control such as slow economic and population growth while taking money that could be going to child care families need, to pay for failed pet project of the Liberals,” says CUPE Ontario’s Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam.

Despite community support to keep Coronation Park Nursery open, early in September Sarnia/Lambton council voted to close the centre down citing a 10 per cent reduction in provincial funding, totaling over $1.3 million annually.

With a $1.8 million provincial child care funding cut in 2013 and a $3.6 million potential cut in 2016, Sudbury council narrowly voted to close its only municipal centre, Junior Citizens, the only Francophone and evening care program available to local families. Municipal centres in Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay are also threatened with closure.

Poole-Cotnam called on the Premier and education minister to intervene immediately and stop the closures of municipal child care programs, saying that “child care and quality licensed care for children should not be collateral damage of flawed funding and misplaced priorities on the part of this government”.

In the last few years, while the Liberals have been the government, dozens of municipal/public child care centres have been closed across the province. These include nine in Windsor, twelve in Peel Region. This is in addition to those now closing due to lower funding transfers under the new formula.

“Mayors and councillors who don’t support public child care are using massive cuts to provincial funding to justify closing municipal centres, which are often the highest quality child care programs in the community and affecting the lives of working families significantly. These centres are being closed despite hundreds of families on wait-lists for regulated child care. This is not a record on child care the Liberals should be proud of,” says Poole-Cotnam.

For more information please contact:

Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications 416-559-9300