From The Gazette

Ste. Anne de Bellevue

Union looks to push hospital talks forward

  • Ste. Anne Hospital.
    Ste. Anne Hospital.
    Photo credit: Graham Hughes, The Gazette

Frustrated by the slowness of the transfer of the Ste. Anne Hospital from federal to provincial government control, union representatives for the close to 600 workers at the veterans hospital say they are now considering pressure tactics.

Last March, an agreement in principle was signed by federal and provincial government officials that was supposed to see the federally funded veterans hospital transferred to provincial government control by next month.

Almost one year later, Yvan Thauvette, national president of the Union of Veterans Affairs Canada — Public Service Alliance of Canada, said union representatives are now concerned that the transfer is nowhere near complete and further cuts in jobs and beds could be in the offing.

“The federal government is telling us it’s a long process and there’s a lot of bureaucracy on the provincial-government side, while provincial government officials are saying it’s hard to deal with the federal government,” Thauvette said on Tuesday.

The mixed messages are a concern, he said, adding the issue will be discussed when members gather Wednesday for their annual general meeting.

Following last week’s closing of a 33-bed unit at the hospital, he noted, layoffs are expected.

“We will be talking about actions we can take in order to put pressure on both governments,” Thauvette said. Walking off the job would be illegal because they are not in negotiations but, he said, picketing is one possibility.

As for the negotiations, Jean Christophe de le Rue, an aide to Steven Blaney, the federal minister of veterans affairs, said they are progressing after being delayed last fall by the provincial election and the change in government.

“Negotiations between the government of Canada and the government of Quebec are currently underway to transfer Ste. Anne’s Hospital to the province before the end of the year,” de le Rue said.

“Our government is determined to transfer the hospital to the government of Quebec in 2013 so that the province can make use of the more than 100 empty beds available for the people of Montreal.”

A provincial government official was not available to comment on the negotiations.

One comment

  1. A provincial government official was not available to comment on the negotiations. Get used to this !!

    The transfer is going down ! But you have 1 big issue PQ/Pauline.. Odds are that 600 people will be out of jobs as the PQ has NO plan of action..and is making it up as they go along !…. A shutdown will be ordered pending some study and then swept under the carpet . On a sad note the union boys will be cashing there cheque’s on pay day …Some of the 600 wont

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