Privatization in Healthcare: Expect Superbugs and Reheated Food

FREDERICTON: Both Vitalité and Horizon Health Networks are about to sign a 10-year deal to privatize management and operation of hospital food service, environmental services and patient transportation.

“We were informed that 280 full-time equivalent positions will be affected in the decision to sell off publicly run services to Sodexo, a French multinational corporation,” said Norma Robinson, President of New Brunswick Council of Hospitals Unions, CUPE Local 1252.

CUPE 1252 is very concerned by Sodexo’s grim track record: in other provinces and in the USA, they have been highly criticized, sued for overcharging governments and even kicked out of universities, jails, schools, and other institutions where they operated.

“It’s outrageous because we are already running a barebones operation. To save money and turn a profit, this company will inevitably cut corners. This will mean more hospital-borne infections and “superbugs”.  This government is putting sick people, seniors and our most vulnerable citizens’ health at risk,” said Robinson.

Less healthcare cleaning and infection control staff frequently results in more cases of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), C. difficile and other infections caused by bacteria and viruses encountered in healthcare facilities.

In past meetings with the previous Health Minister, CUPE 1252 had been reassured that no privatization of these services would happen – because there were no solid guarantees to find savings without loss in quality and services.

“The health of patients and workers should matter: by keeping these services in-house, we can avoid costly and dangerous problems,” said Robinson.

“Despite past cuts, the Union did its best to make sure hospitals were meeting their cleanliness targets. Front-line workers and their supervisors were meeting on a regular basis to raise cleanliness standards in facilities,” said Robinson.

CUPE 1252 is also concerned that more frozen food systems will be implemented: “Is this the food New Brunswickers deserve when they are sick and dying in a hospital bed?” asked Robinson.

Keep Rural Stores Open: NB Liquor Union

Fredericton – The union representing NB Liquor workers, CUPE Local 963, asks the government to stop the planned closures of NB Liquor stores in Lamèque, Petit-Rocher and Cap-Pelé.

“Replacing profitable stores and handing over the work to the private sector through screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-21-25-pmagency stores is an attack on rural New Brunswick. The Petit-Rocher store alone has made over 1 million dollars in profit last year, yet NB Liquor’s CEO wants to go forward with closures. It’s deplorable,” said Jamie Agnew, President of CUPE Local 963.

“Agency stores are not going out of their way to promote and build-up our local brewers or distillers who are fighting for shelf space with alcohol conglomerates” said Agnew.

“Removing the stores will not only hurt regions during tourist season, it will mean a reduced product selection throughout the year,” said Agnew.

 Agnew states that the regional MLAs need to be involved in the decision: “Good paying jobs with benefits should not be replaced by precarious jobs,” he added.

 This week, CUPE has sent letters requesting a meeting to discuss the issue with Cathy Rogers, the Minister responsible for NB Liquor.

CUPE Local 963 represents over 500 liquor store and warehouse workers across New Brunswick.

Paul Moist, Tom Mulcair Join CUPE NB Members in Campbellton

From Left to right: CUPE NB President, Daniel Légère; NDP Leader, Tom Mulcair; Madawaska-Restigouche NDP Candidate, Rosaire L'Italien; CUPE National President, Paul Moist; and Acadie-Bathurst NDP MP, Yvon Godin.

From Left to right: CUPE NB President, Daniel Légère; NDP Leader, Tom Mulcair; Madawaska-Restigouche NDP Candidate, Rosaire L’Italien; CUPE National President, Paul Moist; and Acadie-Bathurst NDP MP, Yvon Godin.

Paul Moist, National President of CUPE joined members of CUPE NB on a hot and sunny day in a Campbellton park for a barbeque and discussion about CUPE’s stance in the election. He took the opportunity to thank members in the province for all of their hard work, saying that CUPE members make their communities the places that they are, and the work they do every day is what makes New Brunswick great.

Paul Moist and CUPE were joined by special guest Tom Mulcair, Leader of the NDP. Mulcair pointed out CUPE NB President Danny Légère’s t-shirt to the crowd, which bore the logos of the NDP and CUPE side by side and read “our party, our voice.” “Every time Paul Moist talks about the NDP he talks about ‘our party’, and that’s the best possible signal that we could send,” said Mulcair.

Paul Moist addressed the assembled crowd, saying “wouldn’t it be nice to have a Canada that talked about a job strategy for all regions, that talked about living wages, that talked about retirement security for all Canadians, that talked about affordable, accessible childcare for all Canadians. Under Tom Mulcair’s leadership we have watched this grow over the last three years. We stand on the shoulders of giants; of Tommy Douglas, of Ed Broadbent, of Jack Layton. This is leadership that all Canadians can believe in.”

Continue reading

EI Study correctly identifies problem, but gets the solutions wrong: CUPE

The Presidents of Canadian Union of Public Employees New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador responded to the study of Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) system with the following statement:

 

The Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) study is correct in saying that EI needs fixing, but ignores the realities of regional economics and fails to offer solutions that meet the needs of all Canadians. Continue reading

Correctional officers concerned about the new Southeast Regional Centre in Shediac

Moncton: The Union representing the correctional officers in New Brunswick, CUPE Local 1251 feels it has been kept out of the loop concerning the Southeast Regional Centre in Shediac which will open soon.

“Because this new jail is an open concept, we are concerned about how the inmates are going to be assessed when they first arrive at the facility.  We still don’t know what process will be followed by the administration but we believe that every inmate should be held in admission until his case go through a classification meeting”, said Everett Godfrey, President of CUPE 1251, the provincial institutional unions.

“This procedure could avoid problems on the units.  A classification meeting is where a multi-disciplinary team assesses the inmate and decides in which unit he should be sent”, explained Godfrey.

“Another concern of the correction officers is the ratio of officers/offenders. We believe that the ratio officer/inmates is too low. In the new jail, the ratio is one officer for 30 inmates and in some other correctional facilities in the province, the ratio is one officer for 20 inmates. For the first few weeks, extra personnel should be allocated on the units to allow everybody to settle in as well as extra floaters in case of an emergency”, added Godfrey.

“This open concept is a new way to interact in a jail setting.  Most correctional officers are used to the old setting where the interaction with inmates is done in a controlled environment.  In this jail, the inmates and the correctional officers will be side-by-side all day long; it’s a direct supervision setting.  Everybody will need time to adjust to this new environment”, concluded Godfrey.