The following is posted on behalf of UNW Local 11:

On Tuesday September 30th Todd Parsons, UNW President, received notice from GNWT Labour Relations that Stanton Territorial Health Authority plans to privatize our Facilities Department as soon as July 2015. On Thursday October 2nd the GNWT Messenger service confirmed this announcing three bidders for the Stanton renewal project. We must stand together to counter this privatization move and protect our public servants from these layoffs. If this move is successful who will be next in the string of privatizations? We must tell our government that we care about the future of our health care system and those who provide an essential role in protecting the safety of northerners.
The “lowest bidder” mentality of contracting-out will not improve service to the citizens of the Northwest Territories. There is no need for a P3 partnership to maintain the building, build yes but not to maintain the structure. That will simply cost tax payers more money. The work needs to be done by public servants who care about the NWT; not large corporation whose mission is to make money for shareholders. Corners will be cut and cost will be more important than safety. Tell our MLA’s that our Health Care is not for sale!

The GNWT’s strategic plan for improving public service, 20/20 A Brilliant North, aims to make operations more effective and efficient by improving human resource management. Nowhere in this strategic plan is privatization mentioned as a solution. 20/20 A Brilliant North boasts goals to recruit a stable, highly diverse, educated and engaged public service. Privatization is contrary to these goals; the GNWT will have less control over human resource management. Such a move will make it more difficult to hire and retain qualified staff who understand the work and its importance to a safe healthcare system. The motto “Public service, Public focus.” will no longer be true.
A private partner will reduce staff, pay and benefits. Underpaid employees will not have the same quality of life. Also, private companies are not required to buy locally so our tax dollars will head south to corporate headquarters and then to some investor who cares nothing for the lives off northerners.
Safety is a serious. Will a private company care about safety in lieu of profits? Our GNWT employees currently have a robust preventative maintenance program to ensure service disruptions are rare and have minimal impact. People’s lives are at stake; should we risk the safety of our staff and patients by handing control of services to a third party?
Quality work is performed by quality staff. Our Facilities Department has decades of experience in maintaining the building; a knowledge that cannot be replaced. The GNWT has an obligation to hire a skilled workforce and provide proper training to meet the facility’s needs. This emphasis on quality and competency will be lost with privatization.
The GNWT promotes itself as an engaging employer; respectful of employees and unions but where has the engagement been? The decision to privatize was made in secret behind closed doors with no input from those affected, staff and patients. Apparently there is no need to recognize the expertise and many years of service our staff have. Thanks for your hard work; here’s a pink slip.

I invite you to make a stand. Contact your MLA’s and voice your disapproval of this decision. Let them hear from the people that they are making the wrong decision, a decision you cannot support. Tell your friends and neighbors. Together we can stop this.
I invite you all to attend the Stanton Territorial Heath Authority’s Annual General Meeting Tuesday October 7th. This is a public meeting so bring the kids and invite your friends and neighbors.  We are all affected so come and show you support a dedicated public service, one that is not for sale to the lowest bidder.