After months of frustration over workload and other issues, AUPE health care workers are now facing the prospect of 11,000 layoffs in essential laundry and lab services. In response to these cuts, AUPE workers began walking off the job today in a wildcat strike.
It is a wildcat strike because these workers do not have a mechanism, within the labour code, to effectively protest the latest move by their employer. Withdrawal of labour is the most effective tool workers have when they face threats to their livelihoods. Wildcat strikes like this are organized by workers rather than union leadership, and they illustrate a profound failure of the province to attend to the needs of a sector that is so crucial to Albertans' well-being, now more than ever.
The fight against cutbacks and privatization in health care is part and parcel of the fight against cutbacks and privatization in post-secondary education. AASUA stands in solidarity with striking AUPE workers, alongside our colleagues from other public sector and private sector unions across the province. We applaud the willingness of these workers to face this risk for the public interest, and we support their struggle.
We invite members to support striking AUPE workers by joining them on the picket lines, by expressing solidarity on the street and on social media, and by contacting the government directly about the issues surrounding this strike.
Members of AASUA will be joining AUPE strikers at the U of A Hospital (112 Street) for a solidarity rally on October 27 at noon, as well as on other future occasions. Keep an eye on the AASUA Members Forum for ongoing planning and discussions.
Please note that while AASUA is supportive of the striking AUPE health workers, and of AASUA members showing their solidarity, we are neither encouraging our members to engage in work stoppages nor to neglect their job responsibilities as covered by the collective agreement.