The UCP is putting blind ideology before the interests of Albertans, says AFL
EDMONTON - While Alberta families are busy trying to survive during this global health pandemic, the UCP has announced an outrageous plan to cut healthcare in Alberta.
“The UCP is moving ahead with the unspeakable. They are actually cutting healthcare during a global pandemic,” says Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan. “This bears repeating again and again. The UCP is cutting Alberta healthcare during a global health pandemic.”
The cuts are currently focused on lab services, housekeeping, food and laundry services. The workers in these fields are predominately women and new immigrants, some of the groups that have already been disproportionately affected by the global pandemic already.
“Lab services have been incredibly important in the fight against COVID-19 in Alberta,” says McGowan. “It makes absolutely no sense to outsource 2,000 jobs from lab services during a global pandemic and claim it will have no impact on Albertan’s healthcare.”
Nurses and doctors cannot provide quality care if patients are not fed quality food, if the surgical and recovery rooms are not kept clean, if hospital linens are not properly sanitized, and if they do not have access to fast lab results. All of these services are critical for healthcare in Alberta.
Furthermore, these cuts also mean increases for out of pocket expenses for Albertans. Increases are expected for things such as casts and crutches. “Putting a cast on a broken bone is not a boutique healthcare benefit that should cost Albertan’s more money,“ said McGowan, “rather it is a basic step in providing healthcare.”
Alberta will also have a harder road to any economic recovery as the UCP moves ahead with its austerity plan, which McGowan says is “only the beginning” and will soon include cuts to nurses and other health care workers.
“Cuts to public services do not end economic recessions – they make economic recessions worse and longer lasting,” said McGowan. “These cuts are ideological, meant to privatize our healthcare and this move showcases the UCP’s disdain for Alberta’s quality public services. These draconian cuts will destroy public health care during a pandemic and tank our economy during a recession. The depth of the UCP’s ideological incompetence is almost too much to comprehend.”
McGowan will be available to talk to reporters outside the AFL offices at 1:00 p.m. The address is 10408-124 street. McGowan will be waiting in front of the building to ensure proper physical distancing.
The AFL represents 175,000 unionized Albertans in both the public and private sectors, including more that 50,000 who work in health care.
Director of Communications, AFL