Are new Alberta Premier Prentice and Health Minister Mandel too busy playing politics and campaigning for their seats to give a mandate to Alberta Health Services to deal with vital day-to-day issues?
Edmonton (15 Oct. 2014)—Front line health-care workers will rally outside the campaign office of Alberta Health Minister Stephen Mandel today (Wednesday, Oct. 15) to protest the political paralysis that has led to the breakdown of negotiations for a new contract.
"Minister Mandel and Premier Prentice are playing politics instead of managing health care," says Elisabeth Ballermann, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE), which represents 17,000 professionals employed by Alberta Health Services (AHS).
Talks broke down last week when AHS came unprepared to discuss monetary issues.
Albertans health care taking back seat to politics
"Our members listed quality of life issues including the ability to take earned time off when they want it and flexibility in shift scheduling as key issues for them. They should not be forced to choose between their families and their professional careers at which Albertans trust them to excel," says Ballermann.
"In recent months negotiations have been successfully completed with other health care unions. The only thing that has changed has been the arrival of Prentice and Mandel as unelected premier and health minister. It seems they are too busy playing politics and campaigning for their seats to give a mandate to AHS to deal with vital day-to-day issues," she says.
Can Conservative government handle routine negotiations?
"If AHS and the Conservative government can't handle routine negotiations, how can Albertans have faith in their ability to fix the complex issues of the health care system, including well-chronicled EMS problems and the disastrous shortage of long-term care beds in the province?"
Members of HSAA/NUPGE and supporters will rally outside Mandel's campaign office from 12 noon to 1 p.m. and nformation pickets will be held at AHS locations around Alberta on Thursday, Oct. 16.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE