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Support Alberta health care wildcats!

By: 
Carolyn Egan

October 26, 2020

I read a quote the other day which stayed with me, ”Hope has two daughters, anger and courage”. It aptly speaks to the inspiring walk outs of the Alberta health care workers who collectively stood up to the bullying tactics of Jason Kenney and his band of United Conservative reactionaries who run the provincial government.

The anger has been bubbling under the surface for some time, and the courage came when the minister of health announced there would be 11,000 job losses through outsourcing of laundry, food services, house keeping and laboratory jobs. Things change when they can no longer stay the same, and these workers, many of whom are women and people of colour, feel that this is their time to fight. That same anger is being felt by millions across this country, who are suffering massive job losses and attacks on public services. The effects of Covid-19 have made worse a deteriorating health care system that has been feeling the effects of an austerity agenda and privitization for decades.

Workers at smaller health care centres joined larger hospitals in Calgary and Edmonton, 23 at this point. After members walked off the job the president of AUPE was quoted as saying, “Nursing care and support workers decided today that there was no other option but to fight to protect Albertans at risk, especially during the deadliest pandemic in a century…This was a decision taken by the members themselves.”   

The strikers stand on the shoulders of the hospital laundry workers who wild cated in 1995 protesting contracting out. They stayed off the job for 11 days. Some of them may be taking part in today’s actions. What they did 25 years ago gave inspiration to workers in every province, and in the years that followed there were similar walkouts including city wide general strikes across Ontario.

These workers are giving hope to so many others that things can change through collective action and they need the support of fellow workers and community members across the country. Solidarity is critical right now, one day longer, one day stronger!

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