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London chapter supports Unifor rally in defence of public health care

London chapter activists at yesterday's rally. Photo by Kevin Jones.

London chapter activists at yesterday’s rally. Photo by Kevin Jones.

The London chapter of the Council of Canadians joined a Unifor protest yesterday in defence of public health care. The rally began in Victoria Park and then moved to the offices of London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews and London North Centre MP Susan Truppe.

CTV reports, “Health care workers rallied in Victoria Park Thursday, and the Unifor members say if something isn’t done to fix the health care system, more at-risk people will fall through the cracks. The union says that health care will be underfunded nationally by about $36 billion over the next 10 years, and many are concerned for the future. …Unifor says the federal government refuses to discuss a new Canada Health Accord – the blueprint for federal contributions to provincial health care – and believe it is part of an effort to increase privatized health care.”

The London Free Press adds, “Unifor is reminding MPP and Liberal cabinet minister Deb Matthews [she’s the president of the Treasury Board] to respect bargaining rights for Ontario health-care workers. Conservative MP Susan Truppe is being urged to support renewing and re-signing the Canada health accord which expired earlier this year.”

Fred Wilson marches for public health care. Photo by Bill O'Neill.

Fred Wilson marches for public health care. Photo by Bill O’Neill.

And the London Community News notes, “Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union with more than 305,000 members, launched rallies in several Ontario cities on Nov. 6, including Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and London. Organizers said some 15 buses brought in union members and their supporters from across the province to the London rally where about 500 people gathered in Victoria Park.”

15,000 Unifor health care workers are set to negotiate new contracts this year. Many of them coming off a two-year wage freeze and are having additional responsibilities placed on them. As CTV notes, “[Unifor] members say that along with seniors, [long term care] facilities are now also taking on assisted living patients and some with mental health issues. They say meeting all the varying demands is taking a toll.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow also tweeted this 3-minute video from yesterday’s protest in London.