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UCP demanding hospital workers take ‘indecent and obscene’ wage rollback

“How dare they attack front-line health care workers who are already stressed and beaten down because of the pandemic.”

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The UCP government is asking some Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) for “indecent and obscene” 4% wage rollbacks.

The government countered by saying Alberta can’t afford the 5% raise the union is demanding.

AUPE said Thursday night the demand is being made of General Support Services (GSS) workers.

The union said in February 2020, the government started with a demand of a 1% wage rollback with Alberta Health Services (AHS) now proposing the 4% chop immediately after the ratification of the new agreement, followed by three years of 0% increases.

“It is indecent and obscene,” said AUPE Vice-President Susan Slade in a statement.

“Everyone knows Premier Kenney and Health Minister Shandro have no respect for front-line health care workers, even after everything they’ve done for us during the pandemic, and here we see AHS following their orders to add insult to injury.

“How dare they attack front-line health care workers who are already stressed and beaten down because of the pandemic.”

AUPE said the GSS workers are often the lowest paid AHS employees, working in cleaning and environmental services, food services, laundry, lab work, protective services, supply chain and purchasing, long-term care, and more.

“It seems AHS wasn’t content attacking registered nurses with their own proposed wage cut,” said Slade.

“Now they’re going after the lowest paid and most precariously employed workers in the entire Alberta health care team.”

Slade added these are the same 11,000 workers who Shandro has threatened to fire as part of his UCP government’s privatization plan.

“What AHS considers job security is a joke,” she said.

“Not only does Shandro and AHS want to roll back these hard-working health care heroes’ wages, but they also want to fire approximately one third of them anyway,” said Slade.

“The only way to stop them is to fight back. We’re going to give our all to protect AUPE members and all the Albertans who rely on the services they provide.”

The government has said the negotiations are part of the attempt to help dig Alberta of a massive financial hole.

AHS staffers can be the highest paid in Canada.

Nurses are also being asked to take a 3% wage cut.

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a statement: “We are thankful for Alberta’s health care support staff – including the hardworking members of the General Support Services – who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.

“At a time when Alberta has $93 billion in debt, we must keep our focus on the long-term fiscal health of the province, as well as the health of Albertans. We must control our spending – and that includes public sector compensation,” Toews said.

“Yesterday at the negotiating table, AUPE asked AHS for a 5% increase in salaries over the next 2 years. That represents $105 million to the Alberta taxpayer. This follows a demand for a 4% raise over 2 years by (nurses).

“Albertans pay more than most Canadians for public services – including health care. In 2019, we paid $5,470 per person on public sector compensation, compared to $4,834 per person in British Columbia and $4,702 in Ontario.

“Our proposal is fair, reasonable, and in the best interest of all Albertans. AHS is offering job security to employees in exchange for the one-time wage reduction. This is a fair and equitable trade.

“AHS is meeting with AUPE later “Friday) to continue negotiations. I’m confident both parties can work together to reach a fair and equitable settlement that respects the fiscal situation of the province.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby769

 

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Bill Mccann

    July 17, 2021 at 9:55 am

    It was the health officials who put many Albertans out of work, the least they can do is share in some of the misery.

  2. MD

    July 17, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Pandemic? The hospitals were the same as every flu season. Whistleblower nurses said that they were beaten down and stressed from the lunacy rules with PPE and a failing healthcare system. They had to strip down and gear up in PPE in front of security guards. The truth is appalling.

  3. Pamela Bridger

    July 17, 2021 at 8:22 am

    The biggest problem is the thought process now ingrained in majority of people that you can run deficits and just borrow and print fiat to infinity without consequence (thanks Rothschild banking fraudsters) and politicians have gladly played along. Now THAT the piper has come calling, these same people don’t understand why they just can’t keep borrowing. A hard lesson to learn and one in which people keep forgetting because it’s “different” this time.

  4. Claudette Leece

    July 16, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    Oh come on Dave, not every hospital, especially smaller rural ones were swamped with Covid. Anyone who even thought they had it, was sent to a city, if anything they were less busy and weren’t really welcoming to the ones that dare venture in there. There the highest paid, great benefits, they can go to another province and work for less if they want, but taxpayers are already paying too much. They never missed one paycheck , so guess they did alright. Time to wake up and realize can’t have public servants calling the shots all the time. AB has no money so , it’s just how it is.

  5. Nele

    July 16, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    We need more competition and introduction of private health service such a functional medicine.

  6. Kelly Carter

    July 16, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    High time for a private competitor to public health. My recent experiences with public health is it is band aide medicine, with no real care for the patient. No wonder why our health care costs more with poorer outcomes than most other provinces. Public sectors are bloated with no accountability. Irony is I would have been on the unions side on this until this week.

  7. Chris

    July 16, 2021 at 9:32 am

    The UCP on its own puts in policies that destroy the economy then demands the public make concessions and take on debt to get through this mess?

    I am not a union supporter but I would suggest nurses not role back their wages and add insult to injury demand a big raise during the next negotiations, LOL.

    #wildroseindependanceparty

  8. Susan Grant

    July 16, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Ok, It was NOT a PANDEMIC the numbers do NOT justify that statement! Not sure beaten down is the best choice. Maybe the better approach is to come clean and tell us (THE TAXPAYER) the truth. I would be more inclined to see everyone funded by TAX $ take a 5% rollback and the Politicians should take a 20% rollback for the lies and harm they have cause. I like nurses BUT I amnot stupid and the entire Medical profession has done themselves inmy being dishonest. The numbers and actual factual evidence does NOT justify a pandemic!

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News

SLOBODIAN: Decade long investigation into Manitoba residential school involves nearly 100 officers and 700 interviews

The First Nation recently undertook a search of the site using ground-penetrating radar technology but has not released the results.

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A “large and complex” decade-long investigation by RCMP has been underway into allegations of sexual abuse at a former residential school in Manitoba’s Sagkeeng First Nation.


The Fort Alexander Residential School opened in 1905 on Sagkeeng First Nation, located 120-km north of Winnipeg. In 1970 it was converted to a day school that operated for several years.


Manitoba RCMP issued a press release Tuesday confirming the major crimes unit began looking into allegations of abuse in February 2010, then launched a formal criminal investigation the following year.


RCMP began by gathering information, including reviewing archival records in both Ottawa and Manitoba. They went through thousands of documents such as student and employee lists and quarterly returns.


This involved more than 80 officers who interacted with more than 700 people across North America in an effort to find possible victims and witnesses.


“After compiling and collating all this data, investigators developed an investigative plan that began with the canvassing of people whose names had been identified in the documents as well as a door-to-door canvas in the Powerview/Fort Alexander area, where the school had been located,” said the statement.


The criminal investigation launched in 2011 involved 75 formal witnesses and victim statements.
Recently, Sagkeeng Chief Derrick Henderson said elders and survivors have long spoken about abuse at the school and children that went missing.


The First Nation recently undertook a search of the site using ground-penetrating radar technology but has not released the results.


“Violation of the privacy rights of those involved in this investigation will not only cause further trauma to everyone involved, but also potentially compromise this highly sensitive investigation,” said Henderson. “We ask that the trauma our community has experienced and continues to live every day is respected and that those affected are afforded their privacy at this time.”

RCMP are working closely with First Nations leaders and no other criminal investigations into former residential schools are underway in Manitoba, said RCMP.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard  lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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BC increases vaccine efforts amid slowing rates, including ‘vax vans’

“Over the next two weeks, BC will push hard to vaccinate as many eligible people as possible.”

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BC health officials want more people rolling up their sleeves for the COVID-19 shot, and say they will be increasing efforts in the coming weeks to do just that.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Dr. Penny Ballem addressed BC’s vaccine roll-out plan during a Tuesday morning news conference.

Among their announced efforts are “walk-in Wednesday” which will take place August 4 when 20,000 jabs will be made available with no need to book in advance.

Walk-in Wednesday is part of the “Vax for BC” campaign.

“I’d like to begin by thanking each and every one of the millions of British Columbian’s, like me, who have stepped up to be vaccinated,” said Henry.

“Because of this small act, we have been able to re-open our province.

“While we have made tremendous progress with our immunization plan, there is of course more work to do. We know that some people still struggle to find a convenient time in their day to get immunized, and others may still have questions, and be hesitant about the vaccine.

“So starting today, we are making it even easier for people to get vaccines. To help protect themselves, and their loved ones against COVID-19.”

Henry said the province will be introducing “custom vax vans” so people will be able to get vaccinated on their lunch break or “while cooling off at a lake.”

The province is also reducing the wait time between first and second doses from eight weeks to seven weeks.

There are currently 906,772 eligible people who have not received a dose, roughly 19.6% of the population older than 12, according to data from July 23.

Interior health has an un-vaccinated population of 26.2% while Northern health has 32.5% without a first shot.

On Monday, the Surrey Board of Trade wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Health Minister of Canada Patty Hajdu, BC Premier John Horgan, and Minister of Health Adrian Dix urging them to “implement a proof-of-immunization model.”

“We support a centralized, Canada-wide approach to COVID-19 proof-of immunization that could be easily used to confirm vaccination status for international and domestic use,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

“Without inter-provincial harmonization, Canada risks a piecemeal approach, making life more difficult and unpredictable for individuals and employers during an already uncertain time.”

Last week, YVR airport implemented separate lines for vaccinated and un-vaccinated individuals prior to reaching customs.

The separation of lines – which was put in place as a federal policy – has since been removed following extensive public push-back.

As for enforcing proof-of-immunization policies at concerts, night clubs, and sporting events – an increasing number of British Columbian’s are cozying up to this idea.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com

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Feds silent on $120M loan to company not ‘worthy of taxpayers’ largesse”

Both CMHC and the Department of Social Development declined to respond to questions.

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Federal agencies yesterday remained mum about a $120 million housing loan to one of Canada’s wealthiest developers, after Cabinet earlier defended the loan as critical, said Blacklock’s Reporter.

“This project will help over 300 local families find rental housing units,” Ahmed Hussen, minister responsible for housing, told reporters. “That’s why the government is taking action to increase the supply of rental housing through projects like the one we’re announcing.”

Cabinet on July 19 announced the $120 million loan to build 302 apartments in Brampton, Ont. The developer is Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. The company’s CEO was paid $3 million in salary and benefits last year, according to corporate filings.

“This project will help over 300 local families find rental housing units,” Hussen’s department said in a statement. “A solid and reliable supply of rental housing is critical to ensuring more Canadians have access to housing that is affordable.”

Choice Properties is owned by George Weston Ltd. The developer’s 2020 net income totaled $451 million. The loan was approved through a federal program, the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, that extends 10-year, easy-term credit “for certainty during the most risky periods of development,” according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Both CMHC and the Department of Social Development declined to respond to questions. The news website Press Progress cited data from Canada Mortgage and Housing that of 302 apartments in the Brampton project, as few as 61 would rent at below-market rates. The building is scheduled for completion by 2023.

“We know that finding an affordable place to live is a challenge for many Canadians in communities across the country,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the time. “Today’s announcement is great news for families in Brampton. The Government of Canada will continue to invest to increase affordable housing options.”

George Weston Ltd. reported net earnings of $1.6 billion last year. It also operates the Loblaw Companies Ltd. supermarket chain that in 2019 received a $12 million federal grant to install new freezers. “Canadians might wonder why the Liberals handed over $12 million to Loblaw’s, one of Canada’s richest companies,” Conservative MP Mark Strahl (Chilliwack-Hope, B.C.) earlier told the Commons.

The freezer grant was paid under a Low Carbon Economy Fund. A now-disbanded ecoEnergy program similarly paid grants to large corporations in the name of energy efficiency.

Sobeys Inc. received $1.48 million in ecoEnergy grants in the period from 2006 to 2013. Loblaw Companies received $801,000. A total $207,968 was paid to McDonald’s Restaurants and $153,960 to Sears Canada.

“These companies are flush,” Liberal MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, Ont.) said in an interview at the time. “Companies, given their financial statements, don’t seem to be worthy recipients of taxpayers’ largesse.”

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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