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Hundreds tell Liberal MPP to defend her community in health services restructuring showdown

North Bay, Ont. – Liberal MPP Monique Smith got an earful over her government’s health services restructuring policies today as hundreds of laundry workers and their supporters rallied outside her office in North Bay.

Today’s flashpoint in the ongoing showdown over the province’s “Local Health Integration Networks” (LHINs) was a rally to “keep jobs local” in North Bay.  Twenty-six laundry workers in CUPE 4384 face losing their jobs, with 9 of these jobs being moved 120 km down the road to Sudbury and the rest vanishing to offset, in part, the higher costs of private borrowing for the new P3 hospital. 

“Moves like this prove there’s nothing local about how health services are being re-aligned, merged and transferred under the Liberal government’s LHINs restructuring,” said Sid Ryan, the Ontario President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).  “Monique Smith is the only politician who is in a position to do the right thing and preserve local jobs in North Bay.  She must step up for her community.”

The real features of LHINs are coming into sharper view, said Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). 

“This is the true face of LHINs,” Hurley said.  “Lost jobs, health services closing, cost over-runs at North Bay’s new privatized P3 hospital and increased stress on the environment.”

“LHINs are not local, and they’re not about health—they’re about further entrenching the market in our public system,” Hurley said.  “Make no mistake, this marks only the beginning of the fight over the loss of hundreds of hospital jobs in North Bay as a result of the huge costs of a private P3 hospital.” 

Today’s rally was organized by “Keep Jobs Local!”—a community coalition dedicated to keeping laundry service jobs in North Bay and raising awareness of the problems with the province’s health services restructuring policies. 

“We will continue to fight this misguided decision to move our jobs out of town,” said Audrey Dwinnell, President, CUPE 4384.  “And we’re going to spread the word to other communities to be wary of the Liberal government’s restructuring policies.  They don’t improve health care and they don’t benefit our communities.”

For more information, please contact:

Sid Ryan  President, CUPE Ontario  (416) 209-0066 (C)

Michael Hurley  President, OCHU/CUPE  (416) 884-0770 (C)

David Robbins  CUPE Communications  (613) 878-1431 C) 

Click to view photographs from rally

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