Frontline hospital workers across parts of Alberta walked off the job Monday (Oct 26).

The protest started in Edmonton, but spread to other hospitals including Chinook Regional here in Lethbridge.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) says the job action is meant to defend jobs and the public health care system.

Licenced Practical Nurse and AUPE member Christine Vavrik was part of the group picketing outside CRH. She says this walkout is to protest the thousands of jobs to be lost in laundry and lab services to outsourcing.

“We are protesting privatization,” said Vavrik. “Most government leaders (across Canada) are praising people during the pandemic and our government is laying people off and privatizing health care. We won’t stand idly by and say dismantle the health care system in this province.”

Alberta Health Services, meanwhile has issued a statement saying as a direct result of the illegal job action, some surgeries and ambulatory care clinics were being postponed.

“We are doing all we can to address any interruptions to patient care caused by this illegal job action. Our focus is on ensuring patients continue to receive the care and treatment they need. AHS is enacting contingency plans to redeploy non-union staff, including managers, wherever possible to cover for missing staff. AHS is monitoring the situation closely to try to mitigate patient care interruptions,” stated AHS in a release to media.