Message from Secretary Ruth Duffy
Now that spring is here, at least for today, there is much happening and not just in Nature. There have been a number of conferences lately, and CFNU on the horizon. I was recently very fortunate to have my name drawn to attend the AFL Biennial as well as the Public Interest Alberta meeting. What a wonderful learning opportunity!
We have all heard of the attacks on Public Services in Wisconsin (i.e. Privatization of all their public services) . It may be tempting to think that the problem is confined to Wisconsin, or to the USA, and is not a problem in Canada, but in fact the same attitudes are being discussed in the corporate boardrooms of Bay Street and the political backrooms on both Edmonton and Ottawa. Sadly, what happens in Wisconsin is unlikely to stay is Wisconsin!
Nursing in Alberta is now enjoying a period of stability, thanks to our new Collective Agreement, but Health Care is still under attack, as Opposition Parties and the Physicians are now demanding a public inquiry into intimidation and cover-up of issues affecting patient care.
In negotiating our Collective Agreement, the government actually “robbed Peter to pay Paul” by making massive cuts to Education and Social Services. Teachers and Social Workers are facing even heavier workloads with even fewer support staff. Class sizes are increasing and pro-grams for Special Needs children are being eliminated entirely. Spending on Social Services has actually been reduced by an unbelievable 30% of the spending in the early 1990’s while corporate profits in Alberta have grown by an astounding 370%. In that time, personal and corporate taxes have been reduced! Little wonder that our Public Services are starving to death!
The federal election results have now been determined but a provincial election is looming and both governments make decisions upon strongly expressed public opinion. As nurses and patient advocates, it is our duty to fight for cuts not only to health care, but also to other public services that impact health care, such as Education and Social Services.
If we are to ensure a healthy and safe environment for our families and the population as a whole, we MUST become more involved in the political process and make our voices heard. Without vocal public input, it is the voices of the corporate elite and special interest groups that will prevail.
I encourage us all to increase our awareness of issues facing all public services and to become actively involved in public hearings, rallies and activities. A very effective means of keeping up to date is via the “news” in UNA net. If you are not currently following UNA on Facebook and Twitter, I also encourage everyone to become involved.
As summer approaches, I wish you all a fabulous summer season and warm sunny vacations!
UNA Local 115 Secretary
Phone: 403-670-9960 Fax: 403-263-2908