Privatization, underfunding of public services in Kenora comes at high cost - CUPE



    KENORA, ON, July 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Proposed privatization and
underfunding of public services in the municipal and hospital sectors will
come at a high cost to residents of Kenora, including the loss of good local
jobs and potential health risks, according to the Canadian Union of Public
Employees (CUPE) Ontario.
    "When work is contracted out to the lowest bidder, this hurts your
community," said Candace Rennick, a Vice-President of CUPE Ontario. "People
cannot afford to live on $12 an hour. They cannot purchase goods and services
from the small business community. They can't afford to buy a home or send
their kids to university. This hits communities hard."
    Rennick says that because private operators must make a profit, many
employ non-union, low-waged workers who get no benefits or pensions, making it
hard for them to raise a family with dignity and security. Rennick and local
CUPE leaders are concerned that Kenora Hospital is contracting out community
lab services.
    "Provincial government underfunding is forcing Kenora Hospital to
contract community lab work out to private operators and the result is that
Kenora residents have often had to wait 48 hours for their test results," said
Doug Kurtz, President, CUPE 3634, representing paramedical services. "That's a
health risk that our residents needlessly face, particularly as we have a lab
at the hospital that is fully staffed with professional public service
workers."
    Judy Bain, President of CUPE 1781 representing RPNs added that residents
can't let the provincial Minister of Health and the Local Health Integration
Network (LHIN) continue to "bully our hospital into making health care cuts
with their restructuring and underfunding of hospitals." The LHIN has
threatened to bring in a team of experts to review the hospital's financial
deficit.
    Tonight, CUPE Ontario is putting on a free rock concert with Trooper in
Kenora to celebrate and bring home the importance of public services in
building and strengthening communities.
    Rennick said the Trooper event, which is the one of the first of a series
of 'Rock for Public Services' concerts across the province, are meant to
remind communities that their hard-earned tax dollars have built, paid for and
delivered public services. "Residents need to stand up for quality public
services and not let politicians sell them off through privatization,
contracting out or relocation of these jobs and services," she added.




For further information:

For further information: Candace Rennick, 2nd Vice-President, CUPE
Ontario, (705) 768-2288; Judy Bain, President of CUPE 1781, Concert
Coordinator, (807) 467-1990; Valerie Dugale, CUPE Communications, (647)
225-3685

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - Ontario Regional Office

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