Privatization of lab services unnecessary and incomplete

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) President Mike Parker reacts to laboratory workers transitioning from public delivery to private employer DynaLIFEDX.

Edmonton – While yesterday marked the official transition for most community lab services from public delivery to private, significant uncertainty remains for laboratory workers and patients. Over the last four years, the UCP has put our laboratory system in chaos with the cancellation of investments in the public system, record demands due to abandoning public health measures and delayed attempts to privatize. Despite this, lab workers have continued to provide exceptional service to Albertans and deserve to have their contracts honoured.

“Health-care dollars should always go to patient care and not profits. Unfortunately, the privatization of these services will put patient care at risk and ensure profits on the backs of our members’ pensions,” said Mike Parker, President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA). “As far as we are concerned, this transition is not complete until our members know what will happen to their pensions, and we are continuing to work to ensure that their contracts are respected.”

HSAA has been advocating for its members transitioning to DynaLIFEDX, to ensure their Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) and Defined Contribution Pension Plan (DCPP) transition with them. This issue was unable to be resolved and a hearing will be held at the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB).

In advance of the ruling from the ALRB, DynaLIFEDX has unilaterally imposed an RRSP option for employees instead of maintaining or implementing LAPP or a DCPP per the Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL)/HSAA collective agreement. The RRSP option imposed by DynaLIFEDX had not been negotiated between the parties, and this unilateral decision is a breach of the collective agreement. HSAA will be filing grievances to ensure the collective agreement is enforced.

The decision to privatize these services is misguided and part of the UCP’s plans to dismantle the public health-care system. Research conducted by the Parkland Institute  has shown that the government’s cost-saving claims are dubious and the risk to the quality of patient care is of serious concern.

“Lab techs and lab assistants are the unsung heroes of the health-care system. Without them, doctors are only guessing. There is no room for cost-cutting in the name of profit, ” concluded Mike Parker.

HSAA is 30,0000 health-care professionals dedicated to protecting the public health system and the vulnerable Albertans who rely on it.  

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