For the past 23 years I worked as a medical secretary and pharmacist assistant at Mankota.
I have a Medical Secretary Diploma and in this capacity I alone served the community and surrounding area. The Cypress Health Region named Mankota a Primary Health Care site. Some of the patient files are in storage boxes at the Health Centre in Mankota, and I am out of work.
Meanwhile the Cypress Health Region has hired a Nurse Practitioner and a Medical Assistant from another community. The Cypress Health Region's published Workforce Statement is as follows: "The Cypress Health Region is committed to a Representative Workforce, which ensures that all members of society have fair and equal access to employment opportunities and where the workforce accurately reflects the community it serves."
The new employee is driving 80 kilometers in the morning to and 80 kilometers back from Mankota, the patients are unfamiliar to her and she has other work two days a week in Hodgeville. They also hired another person from the community who already was employed in the Health Centre. Their single quality is that they are union.
I would have gladly joined the union but they ran roughsod over me. The Cypress Health Region posted the positions for their unionized staff. They knew they would get first chance. I was told I was not allowed to apply until all the workers in the Services Employee's International Union (SEIU) had a chance. If they received no qualified applications from them it would be opened to the public and then I could apply.
I phoned the Health Region several times to inquire about my job since they did not have the courtesy or courage to take five minutes to tell me the position had been filled and to answer my questions. Everyone I called the voice mail came on, I left messages and no one ever returned my calls. The receptionist assured me they would and just to leave a message. They think it's alright to take a job from someone and give it to others who already have employment and leave me with no employment at Mankota. I really enjoyed my work and I am very hurt that it was taken from me.
I did not give up my job willingly. The Cypress Health Region in cooperation with the Service Employee's International Union has a policy which suits their philosophy. Besides collective bargaining for wages, which is acceptable, they set the rules for who can work.
I performed all the work of a medical assistant. I understood the patients. I delivered prescriptions, nursing home medications and cupboard stock as a free service to the community. And now I am replaced by two union employees each with a job description which won't include any after hours deliveries and each with a salary much above mine but also with benefits - sick leave, retirement at an early age, pension, vacation pay and what else.
I wrote to the Minister of Health but there was no interest there - not in me being replaced, not in the additional expense, not in the community here around Mankota. Shouldn't someone for a beginning ask the Cypress Health Region how to justify a statement, "which ensures that all members of society have fair and equal assess to employment opportunities" and whether the province, having some authority over civil rights, shouldn't they have knowledge of what is going on under their control and apparently with their approval?
Linda Calvin - Mankota