NS: CUPE addresses potential job losses in Cape Breton District Health Authority

Staff, The Cape Breton Post
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'There are a number of election issues this time around that we think are going to affect our acute-care members across Nova Scotia negatively... one of the critical issues at hand regarding acute care is the reduction in district health authorities,' says Wayne Thomas, acute-care coordinator for the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Cape Breton Post file photo

[SYDNEY, NS] — The acute-care coordinator for the Canadian Union of Public Employees said a meeting with some health-care workers of the Cape Breton District Health Authority on Thursday was to address a number of concerns, including ones leading to loss of jobs.

"There are a number of election issues this time around that we think are going to affect our acute-care members across Nova Scotia negatively," said Wayne Thomas.

Thomas said one of the critical issues at hand regarding acute care is the reduction in district health authorities.

"Superboard is kind of a tag, but essentially that's what it is. Nine district health authorities plus the IWK reduced to something less than that."

Thomas said Alberta and New Brunswick both moved to the so-called superboard model.

"In Alberta over the course of the last five years there really has been no savings," he said.

"The cost of administration is identical now to what it was before they went to a centralized health-care delivery model."

New Brunswick, Thomas said, went from a number of employers down to three, including one for English clinical services and one for the French clinical services. As well, Thomas said, they created a government organization responsible for non-clinical services.

"There has been tremendous job loss, contracting out of the management,” he said.

“If there ends up being less district health authorities across the province, the decisions on what you are able to do in Cape Breton are going to be made in Halifax instead.”

He said another issue is shared services and the implementation of the Ernst and Young report.

"These two issues are both very much about loss of jobs, effects on employees and the loss of health-care decision-making within Cape Breton.”

Thomas said another point of concern to the workers is loss of the right to strike.

In Sydney, CUPE represents the clerical employees of the Cape Breton District Health Authority. Across the province CUPE represents workers in district health authorities in all classifications except doctors and registered nurses.

The union will be holding eight meetings over the next couple weeks across the province.

Organizations: Canadian Union of Public Employees, Cape Breton District Health Authority, Ernst and Young

Geographic location: SYDNEY, Nova Scotia, Alberta New Brunswick Cape Breton Halifax

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