Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

March 22, 2007 17:41 ET

Hospital Should Provide Answers Instead of Disciplining Employees, OPSEU Says

BRACEBRIDGE, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2007) - Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare employees deserve answers, not discipline, for questioning the hospital's plan to move lab testing out of the community, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare recently suspended two OPSEU union stewards who have been campaigning to save lab services at the hospital.

The suspensions without pay are the second such incident where the hospital has tried to silence the union through discipline of activists at MAHC. The hospital had placed letters of discipline in the files of workers after they wore campaign t-shirts that urged the hospital not to drive away lab services.

"There are many questions the community needs to ask the hospital administration," says OPSEU President Leah Casselman. "What is the true cost to the hospital of community-based lab testing? What is in the regional lab plan, and why is the hospital so reluctant to share this information with the community?

"Instead of trying to silence our members with disciplinary measures," said Casselman, "the hospital should be working collaboratively to solve this problem. It is in the community's interest that everyone presents a united front to Queen's Park to save these local services."

OPSEU has reason to believe that in fact the community-based lab testing at the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital may actually be generating surpluses, not losses, as MAHC CEO Barry Lockhart has told the media. OPSEU calls upon the hospital to release the financial documentation related to this program so that the community can make a fully informed assessment of the hospital's plan to move testing out of the community."

Since January, OPSEU has also been asking for a copy of a "LHIN-based regional lab plan" referred to in MAHC's "third party" review of lab services.

The hospital has told the union that they can only reveal the contents of this plan in a face-to-face meeting. They have further told the union that the "LHIN-based regional plan" is not LHIN-based at all, but a document prepared by an informal group of regional hospitals.

OPSEU questions why the hospitals have excluded the LHIN from this process, or why a plan has been submitted to the ministry without consulting the community.

The union has complained of unfair labour practices to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. A mediation session is scheduled to take place in Barrie April 24.

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is made up of facilities in Bracebridge, Huntsville and Burk's Falls.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Public Service Employees Union
    Rick Janson
    (416) 443-8888 ext 8383