Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

February 11, 2015 09:49 ET

Taking their message to the streets: health unit workers stand up for public health services in Peterborough

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 11, 2015) - Employees of the Peterborough County-City Health Unit are signaling their determination to defend the region's public health services by taking their concerns to the streets of Peterborough in an information picket on Wednesday, February 11 at 4:30 p.m. at Peterborough City Hall.

As members of Peterborough's Board of Health meet inside in council chambers, members of Local 4170 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will stand outside with colleagues from the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA). They will distribute leaflets outlining their concerns about the negative impact of underfunding on public health services for Peterborough County and City and its effects on those who deliver the services.

"It is the Board of Health's responsibility to ensure that its health unit is adequately funded so that its workers can carry out its mandate," said Pam Pressick, President of Local 4170.

"But when positions are gapped and the organization is underfunded, it's our responsibility as public health workers to speak up about the potential effect on services, on public health in Peterborough City and County, and on our communities."

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents 53 employees at the PCCHU; they are the unit's public health inspectors, registered practical nurse, dental assistants, epidemiologist, bookkeepers, secretaries, caretaker, community workers, IT staff, housekeeper, receptionist, tobacco enforcement officer, and youth development worker. They are currently in negotiations for a new collective agreement with the PCCHU.

Collectively, these workers are calling on the Board of Health to ensure that the public and the health unit's staff do not have to pay the price for government underfunding. To underline the urgency of their concerns, CUPE members delivered a 96 per cent strike vote on Monday night.

Pressick asserted that CUPE members did not want a disruption to the PCCHU's services, but that the vote was an indication of how seriously CUPE members regard the issues that threaten public health services.

"Underfunding of public health services should concern everyone who cares about public health," she concluded.

Details of the information picket:

Who: Employees of the Peterborough County-City Health Unit represented by CUPE and ONA
What: An information picket to promote the importance of public health services and raise awareness of the dangers of underfunding for public health
When: Wednesday, February 11, from 4:30 p.m.
Where: Peterborough City Hall Council Chambers, 500 George Street North, Peterborough

Contact Information

  • Pam Pressick
    President, CUPE 4170
    705-872-1208

    Alison Davidson
    CUPE National Representative
    705-760-5113

    Mary Unan
    CUPE Communications
    647-390-9839