Instead of making the transition of lab services in Medicine Hat smooth and professional, Alberta Health Services has chosen to ask "already stressed and busy workers to jump through hoops — and then apply for the jobs they already do", says Mike Parker, HSAA.
Mike Parker, Vice-President HSAA/NUPGE
Edmonton (19 Aug. 2015) — Alberta Health Services (AHS) is throwing up roadblocks to a smooth transition of medical laboratory services in Medicine Hat that could affect the quality of care patients receive, says the union representing affected workers.
"Instead of working with employees at Medicine Hat Diagnostic Lab (MHDL) to ensure the handover to AHS provides uninterrupted service, AHS has chosen to make things difficult," says Mike Parker, Vice-President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE), which represents lab professionals at MHDL and at AHS.
Creating fear and uncertainty
"Their approach to this transition is baffling. HSAA/NUPGE and AHS have worked together in many other cases to transition employees from one employer to AHS with no problems. It's standard practice and works very well. It respects the vital work done by health care professionals and allows them to continue providing quality services to patients without concern," says Parker.
"Instead of this smooth transition, AHS has chosen to create fear and uncertainty among MHDL members. Instead of negotiating their future, they are asking already stressed and busy workers to jump through hoops — and then apply for the jobs they already do," he says.
"This approach threatens to undermine the ability of MHDL to continue to take care of patient needs, as workers feeling disrespected by AHS leave to find more stable employment. It may also threaten AHS's ability to hire enough lab professionals in the future," says Parker.
Vital service that shouldn't be undermined
"Medicine Hat is a growing community and the need for lab tests is only going to grow with it. All these lab professionals — and probably more — are going to be required to get patients the care they deserve. The work done by our members in both private and public labs is vital to the health of Albertans. Patients will pay the price for the uncertainty and instability caused by AHS's decision to ignore standard transition processes," says Parker.
In an update to MHDL employees yesterday, AHS says, "the goal is to bring together representatives of the two employee groups to work together to make the transition as smooth as possible."
AHS needs to respect workers' choice
Parker says, "What AHS is ignoring is that MHDL members came to HSAA/NUPGE and asked to join our union. The workers have chosen the union to act as their representative and there is no reason for AHS to ignore that choice."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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