CUPE Submission to the Newfoundland and Labrador 2018 Pre-Budget Consultation

CUPE Submission to the Newfoundland and Labrador 2018 Pre-Budget Consultation

creynolds Economy, News Release, Report

CUPE NL supports the position taken by the Common Front NL in urging government to focus on protecting existing jobs in the public and private sectors and invest to stimulate economic growth in the short term.

The real crisis facing the province is not how to balance the books but how to stop rising unemployment. Yes, the deficit needs to be addressed but government’s own forecast is for a balanced budget by 2022.

RBC economists warn Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans face “grim job prospects”. “We see little to stem employment losses in the next two years as the provincial government slims down in efforts to eliminate its deficit, consumers cut back spending, and work on the giant Muskrat Falls project ends in 2019.”

The unemployment rate in Newfoundland Labrador is “officially” 14.5%, more than twice the Canadian average. The real rate – counting people who are involuntarily working part-time, waiting for jobs, or have given up looking – is more than 18%.

RECOMMENDATIONS

CUPE NL offers two recommendations to government:

1. Stimulate economic growth by investing to reduce inequality, and
2. Reduce expenditures and create efficiencies by cancelling the P3 deals

REDUCE INEQUALITY

Statistics Canada reports that the gap between the highest salaries and the lowest incomes in St. John’s is the highest of the Atlantic Canadian census metropolitan areas. (See Figure 1.) The top one percent take home nearly nine times more than the bottom 30 per cent, and nearly seven times more than the bottom 50 per cent. The next largest gap is in Gander, then Halifax, followed by Bay Roberts.

Figure 1. Income Inequality Atlantic Provinces Comparison

Figure 1. Income Inequality Atlantic Provinces Comparison

“We definitely should be concerned about it,” says economist Tony Fang who holds the Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Cultural and Economic Transformation at Memorial University. The incomes of the bottom 30 per cent of people across Newfoundland Labrador are around $20,000 or less a year in a province with the highest cost of living in the Atlantic region.

Fang expects the income inequality in the province to keep growing, and that it will become “a significant social issue.”

There is mounting evidence of a causal relationship between inequality and poor health. Healthcare costs have been identified by the Government of Newfoundland

Labrador as one of the province’s significant costs. Government’s focus seems to be on finding ways to cut spending but CUPE suggests investing in public services instead.

A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) concluded that focusing on the social determinants of health such as income and housing can help address the root causes of disease, poor health and premature death.

Spending on social services is an effective way to improve the overall health of the population. Those with the lowest incomes (and consequently the lowest life expectancies) would benefit the most in improved health.

One way to create efficiencies in public services is to increase investments in social services like income supports and housing that will, in turn, lower health care costs.

Inequality should not only be reduced to improve social outcomes, such as good health, but also to sustain long-term growth.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has increasingly focused on the impacts of income inequality. New OCED analysis concludes that reducing inequality boosts economic growth.

Econometric analysis by the OCED suggests that income inequality has a negative and statistically significant impact on subsequent growth. This work finds that countries where income inequality is decreasing grow faster than those with rising inequality.

The impact of inequality on growth stems from the gap between the bottom 40 percent with the rest of society, not just the poorest 10 percent. Anti-poverty programs will not be enough, says the OECD. Cash transfers and increasing access to public services, such as high-quality education, training and healthcare, are an essential social investment to create greater equality of opportunities in the long run.

To tackle inequality, the OECD suggests a focus on increasing women’s economic participation, promotion of employment and creation of good-quality jobs, investing in human capital through better skills and education policies, and, finally, redistribution through taxes and transfers.

These policies are especially important for rural communities who have borne the brunt of deindustrialization and declines in resource-extraction industries. Often public services like schools, hospitals, and long-term care facilities are the best jobs in small communities. By extension the job security and health and welfare benefits afforded to unionized employees at these public facilities, most often women, keep families and communities together and healthy. These public sector services and jobs also sustain private sector businesses.

Tax policy of recent governments has contributed to increased inequality.

Newfoundland Labrador’s personal income tax system has become less progressive since 2008 because of a series of tax cuts. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Income Tax Cuts – Newfoundland Labrador

Figure 2. Income Tax Cuts – Newfoundland Labrador

The bulk of those income tax cuts went to the wealthy. Even with recent increases to personal income taxes, the rate for top incomes is still below the rates that were effective up until 2007.

Not only is Newfoundland Labrador’s top taxation rate lower than nearby provinces, and lower than it was up until 2007, Newfoundland Labrador’s top rate only begins to apply at a much higher income level than in most other provinces. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Top Income Tax Rates – Atlantic Provinces

Figure 3. Top Income Tax Rates – Atlantic Provinces

Government can reduce inequality by making the income tax system a more progressive one.

Another way to reduce inequality is to raise the minimum wage. CUPE urges Newfoundland Labrador to follow the lead of Governments in Alberta, Ontario and B.C. and increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

A $15 minimum wage would significantly boost the income of low-wage workers as a group, reduce working poverty and make a dent in the large increase in income inequality. Although $15 an hour is not a living wage, it is a step in the right direction.

Increasing the minimum wage is also a stimulus to the local economy because low-income earners spend most of their income and chiefly in their community.

CANCEL THE P3 DEALS

Two recent events add to the evidence that P3s are an expensive and risky procurement model that governments and taxpayers should avoid. They should be of particular concern to this government which has announced the province’s first P3 projects, including a hospital and three long term care homes.

The first event is Ontario’s Auditor General Report released in December 2017 exposing further problems with P3s in that province. The Auditor General singled out P3 hospitals and maintenance contracts for particular attention. The Corner Brook P3 long term care home and hospital will include maintenance contracts.

The Auditor General identified five key problems with the maintenance of the 16 privatized P3 (“public private partnership”) hospitals in Ontario:

  1. Long-term ongoing disputes with privatized P3 contractors over the P3 agreements, including about what is covered by the P3 contract.
  2. Hospitals are required to pay higher than reasonable rates to the P3 contractor for maintenance work the contractor has deemed to be outside of the P3 contract. In other words, Ontario hospitals are being gouged by P3 contractors on maintenance work that is not covered in the original contract.
  3. Hospitals are experiencing funding shortfalls for their P3 maintenance agreements.
  • Four hospitals that the Auditor General spoke to have either requested additional funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) or informed the Auditor General that they had experienced a funding shortfall but had not made a request for additional funding from the Ministry. These hospitals advised the Auditor General that the total funding shortfall was $8.1 million in 2015/16.
  • The MOHLTC has provided some extra funds for the P3 hospitals to deal with these shortfalls, but, according to the hospitals the Auditor General spoke to, the additional funding provided by the Ministry does not cover the full amount of the shortfall. Management at the hospitals informed the Auditor General that they have been required to reduce funding in other areas within their existing budgets to make up these shortfalls.
  1. Two key benefits that hospitals expected from P3 maintenance agreements have not been realized. The two key benefits they hoped for were: [1] that the monthly P3 payments hospitals make would cover all maintenance within the scope of the P3 agreement; [2] and hospitals would transfer the risk of maintaining the hospital to the private-sector company. “However, all the hospitals we contacted informed us that, due to the way that private-sector companies have interpreted the Alternate Finance Procurement [P3] agreements, the hospitals are not realizing these benefits.”
  2. Hospitals informed the Auditor General that the P3 “escalating dispute resolution methods” are collectively time-consuming and ineffective at resolving disputes.

Here are examples of two disputes from the Auditor General’s Report:

  • In one of the hospitals interviewed, 30 out of 84 negative pressure rooms were not in use from May 2015—when the construction of the hospital was determined to be substantially complete—to July 2017, when the private-sector company finally acknowledged and started to address the deficiency. Making these rooms available is the responsibility of the P3 contractor under the maintenance portion of the agreement. According to the CEO of the hospital, this is a serious matter because negative pressure rooms are used for infection control. The hospital CEO further noted that, even after acknowledging the availability failure, the private-sector company was still very slow to respond to and resolve the failure, causing the hospital to suggest that it appeared that the penalties were not significant enough to incentivize faster resolution. To date, the hospital has withheld $139,000, which represents two months’ worth of penalties. As of July 2017, this situation remained largely unchanged.
  • In another hospital, the Personal Alarm System, which is a central monitoring system that is intended to ensure the health and safety of patients, staff and visitors, experienced repeated failures since January 2014; these persisted into 2017. Examples of the failures include false alarms, system slowdowns, security office camera problems, and door lock issues. The hospital and the private sector company are in dispute regarding the amount of penalty, in the form of deductions against payments to the private-sector company. The hospital has asserted that the amount of deductions allowed under the AFP agreement totals over $71.4 million over the three-year period, but the private-sector company has not recognized any failures. In addition, the hospital has incurred over $2.3 million in legal, consulting and other professional fees since January 2014 to deal with this issue.

Despite problems such as this, the Auditor General found that P3 companies with poor performance records were still winning contracts – one such company got in on a P3 deal worth $1.3 billion in 2016 and another worth $685 million in 2017. There seemed to be an absolute disconnect between the arm of government awarding the P3 contracts, Infrastructure Ontario, and the Ministries of government managing disputes with the private-sector companies during the maintenance phase of existing P3 projects. As a result, private-sector companies in the consortia that have performed poorly in maintaining buildings—in that they have had many failures and disputes with hospitals and other government entities—have been members of other consortia that have been awarded additional P3 contracts.

This Auditor General report deals with only one (small) aspect of the P3 deals – maintenance. Earlier AG reports have shown major problems with other aspects of the P3 model of procurement.

The second recent P3 development is the collapse of Carillion, a global promoter of public-private partnerships. Carillion sponsored and financed more than 60 P3s as well as holding contracts for facilities management services. In the UK alone, Carillion held contracts to provide food and cleaning services to schools, maintenance and facility management services to hospitals, services in prisons and military bases, among others.

Carillion is involved in 10 P3s across Canada, primarily in Ontario, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. Two hospitals are still in development.

The Government of Newfoundland Labrador relied heavily on the Saskatchewan experience to design and promote its P3 procurement projects. With the Carillion bankruptcy, Saskatchewan may be left with unanticipated 30-year contract obligations for the construction and maintenance of the new North Battleford P3 hospital in which Carillion was a consortium partner. The North Battleford hospital has already been criticized for its costly maintenance contract which was higher than the maintenance budget for the entire former health region.

A second cautionary tale from the Carillion collapse is the role that large accountancy companies such as KPMG, EY, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers play in the P3 business. In Britain, KPMG is under investigation by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) for potential breach of the ethical and technical standards for auditors as the House of Commons attempts to grapple with Carillion’s massive debts and pension deficits. There are calls for scrutiny of all of the accountancy firms who have become deeply embedded in the lucrative P3 promotion and revenue streams.

All the large accounting firms that advise governments on P3 proposals – KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PricewaterhouseCoopers – are sponsoring members of the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships, the leading lobbying organization for the P3 industry with an explicit mandate to promote and facilitate public-private partnerships.

The Government of Newfoundland Labrador has for all intents and purposes hired EY to manage its P3 contracts. The consultants and accounting firms that prepare the business cases and assessments for the P3 agencies generate considerable income from P3s. How is it possible for EY to provide an independent and impartial assessment of P3 proposals when its ties to the P3 industry run so deep?

CONCLUSION

Higher unemployment and growing inequality threaten the future of Newfoundland Labrador as do P3s which transfer huge costs and risks to future generations.

CUPE NL urges government to make these issues its budget priority.

Download a printable copy of the submission (with sources).

Member Update – November 29, 2017

creynolds Article, Collective Bargaining

Member Update – November 29, 2017The following update is for CUPE NL members and locals affected by the current round of provincial bargaining. Please print and share this update with your local members.

What is a concession?

Concession bargaining is a term used in negotiations in which the employer asks the union to give back previously gained improvements in pay and conditions.

The employer may also propose two-tier contracts with lower wages, benefits, and working conditions. This would see members who work side-by-side being paid different rates of pay, with access to different benefits, and even different pensions upon retirement. Two-tier provisions are considered a concession.

Accepting concessions is no guarantee you’ll ever get back what you’ve lost. If a union has a history of concession bargaining, the employer is that much more likely to ask.

It is important to remember that every item that is in our collective agreement is something that bargaining teams of the past have fought hard to get and to protect.

A wage freeze means real wage losses

Newfoundland and Labrador workers – including health care workers, school board workers, long-term care workers, library workers, transition home workers, NL Housing and others – have been waiting years for a decent pay increase. Better wages are necessary to get the economy growing.

For most workers, the collective bargaining process is the only tool at their disposal to control their wages, while the cost of living rises. Voting on their collective agreement is a means to protect their income. When a union member votes on a collective agreement, they’re not just protecting themselves – they’re protecting their family, their community, and the future for generations of workers.

When planning their own household budget, union members should plan for the four years of the current contract plus the two years it may take to negotiate the next contract.

In proposals presented to CUPE by the Province’s negotiators, the Ball Government has put forward a four-year wage freeze on public sector workers, for the period of April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2020. This means real wage losses projected as 11.1% (compounded; as the rising cost of living outpaces wage gains) in the four-year period of the contract we are currently negotiating.

This attack on public sector wages will do serious damage to the economy. Suppressing public sector wages will eventually drive down private sector wages. If the Province is serious about growing the economy, they should not attack wages or retirement income.

Labour compensation and household spending are responsible for well over half of our country’s national income and spending and for more than 60 per cent of our economic growth since 2009.

Households have maintained consumer spending by increasing their debt to record levels and leveraging equity in their homes as house prices have escalated. This has been affordable with low interest rates, but won’t be sustainable as interest rates rise and real estate prices plateau or decline.

Increase in the cost of living* – Newfoundland and Labrador

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
2.7% 2.6% 2.9% 2.4% 2.4% 2.6%

If labour compensation and consumer spending don’t increase at a decent and sustainable pace, then our economy won’t grow at a decent pace either.

The chart below can be used to estimate how much you will lose if your wages remain the same during this four-year period, plus the two years it may take to negotiate the next collective agreement.

Annual Wages

Wage Losses

2016 2017 2018 2019
20000 520 540 580 480
30000 780 810 870 720
40000 1040 1080 1160 960
50000 1300 1350 1450 1200
60000 1560 1620 1740 1440
70000 1820 1890 2030 1680

*Source: The 2017 Economic Review – Fall Forecast, Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Finance

 

CUPE sets plan to fight concessions and two-tier bargaining

The National Executive Board is reaffirming CUPE’s commitment to fighting concessions and two-tier contract provisions, and defending the free collective bargaining rights of its members. At a meeting in December last year, the NEB approved a revised policy on collective bargaining that sets out a plan to ensure CUPE locals and members are fully prepared to fight back against attacks during bargaining.

“Workers did not join CUPE in order to move backwards, to lose wages or benefits, or lower their working conditions. They joined our union so they could move forward, with a better work life, more secure employment, and safe working conditions,” said Mark Hancock, national president of CUPE.  

“We have an obligation to our members to resist concessions, two-tier contract provisions, and precarious work. If a contract provision is not good enough for our current members, it is not good enough for the next generation of workers either.”

The revised policy outlines roles and responsibilities of all elected leaders and staff in fighting concessions, resisting two-tier contract proposals from employers, and defending the free collective bargaining rights of CUPE members.

Read the full NEB Policy on Collective Bargaining at https://cupe.ca/sites/cupe/files/gm/20170628/collective-bargaining-policy.pdf.

P3 promotion agencies ignore reports by auditor generals

Letter: Partnership is an empty buzzword

creynolds Own Your NL, Privatization

The following letter to the editor was published on Monday, November 5, 2017, in The Telegram.

The St. John’s Board of Trade offered nothing new in their Oct. 27 letter to the editor (“P3 model unduly criticized”) that hasn’t already been said by consultants and lobbyists that stand to profit from these misguided deals.

P3 promotion agencies ignore reports by auditor generals - print adWhen public-private partnerships (P3) promoters use buzzwords like “innovation” and “stability” while talking about P3s, it means they’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. Privatization can take many forms, and its promoters often use different terms to hide what they’re doing.

The term “partnership” can be misleading. Board of Trade chair Dorothy Keating said it herself. “The Canadian P3 market is attractive to investors.” Their goal is not to save taxpayers money. It’s profit.

P3s are long-term contracts that allow for-profit enterprises to finance, build, own, maintain and/or operate a public infrastructure asset and the services it provides. P3s are structured to guarantee the private sector profitable payments and/or user fees, while governments are left holding the risk.

P3s allow politicians to keep upfront costs off the books and let private companies arrange financing until the project is complete. Politicians get credit for delivering new infrastructure while passing future operating and maintenance costs off onto future politicians and taxpayers.

For example, the Corner Brook P3 hospital and long-term care facilities are “Define, build, finance, maintain” projects. That’s privatization.

The value for money that Keating mentioned is often calculated by using biased comparisons in case studies, cherry-picking data and ignoring reports by auditor generals.

High rates of return come at a price for future taxpayers. The P3 parade provides excellent returns for investors today because future generations will pay the price through massive and growing liability payments.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should take pride in the fact we’re the only province that hasn’t drunk the Kool-Aid – yet.

Wayne Lucas, president
CUPE NL

Update: After this letter was written, Premier Dwight Ball awarded a P3 contract to a consortium of private companies to design, build, finance and maintain a long-term care facility in Corner Brook (Friday, November 3, 2017). 

Delegates hold up voting cards at national convention 2017

Convention 2017 – Moving Forward Together

creynolds Article, Collective Bargaining

Delegates hold up voting cards at national convention 2017Dear Sisters, Brothers, and Friends:

We’d like to thank the 2,200 delegates who took the time out of their lives to attend our National Convention in Toronto last week. We know it’s not easy, and we appreciate your commitment to our union, and the honesty and civility with which you engaged in debates around our union’s priorities, policies and structure.

We accomplished a lot together, and we wanted to share some of the key decisions that were made.

Strike Pay

Delegates approved a resolution to begin pay for eligible members of striking locals on the first day of a strike, instead of the fifth, as is currently the case. This move will strengthen the position of locals who encounter obstinate and unreasonable demands from employers at the bargaining table. This change to strike pay is effective immediately.

Coupled with the union’s renewed bargaining policy, which rejects all attempts by employers to force concessions and two-tier proposals on workers, we now have a full set of tools to take on bargaining in a climate of aggressive austerity.

Strategic Directions

Delegates also adopted CUPE’s Strategic Directions, which establishes the union’s priorities for the next two years. The plan sets out how we will make gains in our workplaces and communities, fight racism and discrimination in all its forms, defend public services, and advocate for a better country and world.

Task Force on Governance

Delegates approved a resolution to create a Task Force on Governance which will review the structure of our union as laid out in the constitution. Our governance structure has not changed significantly since our inception as a union in 1963, despite the substantial growth and changes in our membership in the intervening 54 years, and this assessment is long overdue.

The task force will look at the current and historic composition of our leadership, the role and responsibility of the positions that make up the National Executive Board, and the structure of our chartered organizations as well as that of other labour organizations. The task force will make recommendations to the National Executive Board by March 2019, and the NEB will submit any constitutional amendments necessary to the 2019 National Convention.

Once again, we’d like to thank each and every delegate for their work.

In solidarity,

MARK HANCOCK
National President
CHARLES FLEURY
National Secretary-Treasurer

Letter: No evidence P3s are cost effective

creynolds News Release, Own Your NL, Privatization

The following letter to the editor from CUPE NL President Wayne Lucas was published in The Telegram on September 201, 2017.

Provincial government Ministers Steve Crocker and Dr. John Haggie have taken exception to the alarm bells CUPE is ringing about the higher costs of P3 deals. 

In a letter to the editor of Aug. 26, the ministers claimed two recent P3s were proof of successful P3 projects: Swift Current Long Term Care Centre in Saskatchewan and Interior Heart Surgical Centre in British Columbia.

Coincidentally, Plenary Health, in the running to build the Corner Brook Long Term Care P3, was involved in the Saskatchewan and British Columbia P3 projects.

Saskatchewan’s Auditor General reviewed the Swift Current Long Term Care Centre and three other P3 deals in 2015 concluding that the value for money assessments were rigged by consultants to favour the P3 model. There was no hard evidence to prove P3s were more cost effective than the public-sector option.

British Columbia’s Auditor General raised major concerns about the high cost of debt through P3 projects in 2014. She examined 16 different P3 projects in the province and reported that interest rates on the province’s $2.3 billion of P3 debt ranged from 4.42 per cent to 14.79 per cent. The BC government can borrow money at around 3.1%. Her review concluded that P3 projects created higher levels of debt than if the government had financed the projects itself.

CUPE’s Senior Economist reviewed the numbers for the Interior Heart Surgical Centre in British Columbia and estimates that the project would have cost $37.5 million more than claimed if an appropriate discount rate had been used. This would have made the P3 more expensive than the public-sector comparator.

Most of the cost-savings boasted about by P3 advocates are based on value for money calculations and when these calculations are scrutinized by impartial experts, like a provincial auditor, they are proven to just not be credible. 

I would urge ministers Crocker and Haggie to put away the glossy consultant flyers and read the Auditor General reports on P3s.
Wayne Lucas
President, CUPE Newfoundland Labrador

New Radio Ads: August 14 – September 3, 2017

creynolds Collective Bargaining, Crossroads

Two new radio ad campaign by public service workers in Newfoundland and Labrador hit the airwaves this week, on radio stations across the province. CUPE’s public services workers launched the ads to voice their concerns about the Ball Government’s failure to protect good jobs, as well as the impact on our economy and our public services.

The radio ads will play until August 20.


Listen to radio ads 3 & 4

CUPE believes the Ball Government should recognize the public sector as a driver of economic growth. There are steps the Province can take in the collective bargaining process – and in the next budget – that put people first, protect the public services we need, create good jobs and a stronger economy.

CUPE Newfoundland Labrador represents approximately 6,000 public service workers in health care, education, treasury, public housing, provincial libraries, university, transition and group homes, child care and much more.

Listen and watch all the ads at nl.cupe.ca/crossroads.

Let’s stop the Ball Government from saddling us with even more debt

creynolds Opinion, Privatization

People living in Corner Brook and the surrounding region have needed new health care facilities, including more beds in long-term care, for many years. It came as welcome news to everyone, including CUPE members and their families, when the province announced two new facilities would begin construction later this year.

However, the secrecy and lack of transparency around these two projects are very troubling. In a meeting with Minister Bennett and Minister Hawkins, in March this year, our representatives were told the details of these projects would be made public, but only after the contracts are signed. That’s a red flag!

Send your MHA a message: Stop P3 deals before you saddle us with more debt

What exactly are public-private partnerships? Instead of using its own borrowing power, a government looking to build public infrastructure uses private-sector money for the project. The private sector invests some (or all) of the required money in return for healthy financial returns and a measure of control.

As explained by economist Toby Sanger, financing a project at the 7-9% return rate that private investors expect from infrastructure investments would dramatically increase the total cost of a project financed over 30 years. If the province directly borrowed the funds, they would get the current 30-year bond rate of 3.7%. There’s another red flag!

The NL Government has stated that the Corner Brook long-term care facility will cost $120-140 million and the hospital will cost $700-900 million. Assuming the province is borrowing money to finance these projects, P3 deals would cost almost twice as much to borrow as public procurement. Why on earth would we do that?

Long-term care facility borrowing costs

Principal Public:

3.7% amortized over 30 years

P3:

7% amortized over 30 years

$120 million $79 million $167 million


Hospital facility borrowing costs

Principal Public:

3.7% amortized over 30 years

P3:

7% amortized over 30 years

$700 million $460 million $977 million

There is plenty of evidence to show that P3s are the wrong way to finance public infrastructure.

The additional beds and services in Corner Brook will create new jobs, but that will happen regardless of how the facilities are built, and assuming the two projects don’t go over budget.

The additional costs could result in closing beds, laying off staff and reducing quality of care. Look at the P3-built North Bay Regional Hospital, which cost at least $160 million more than public procurement would have cost. Over 50 beds have been closed, and they’re on the third round of layoffs with over 100 jobs cut.

The P3 deals that the Ball Government wants to use are a Trojan Horse that will allow the quality of our public health care to be influenced by private interests and profit margins.

CUPE Newfoundland Labrador urges the Ball Government to take the following action:

Make public the full details of the Corner Brook value-for-money report and business case – before final decisions are made and any contracts are signed.

In addition, the Province should mandate:

  • Public consultation
  • The involvement of a provincial auditor
  • Public-Private Partnership Transparency and Accountability legislation that demands a preliminary analysis – available to the public – outlining the risks, costs and benefits of using a P3

We are going to pay for these projects one way or another. We might as well build our health care facilities publicly. Let’s own and control them ourselves, for the public interest and not for private profits.

Wayne Lucas
President, CUPE Newfoundland Labrador

Send your MHA a message: Stop P3 deals before you saddle us with more debt

Keep our health care facilities out of the hands of private interests: Rally on August 15

creynolds News Release

The P3 deals that the Ball Government want to use to build health care facilities in Corner Brook are a Trojan Horse that will allow the quality of our public health care to be influenced by private profits.

People living in Corner Brook and the surrounding region have needed new health care facilities, including more beds in long-term care, for many years. It came as welcome news to everyone, including CUPE members and their families, when the province announced two new facilities would begin construction later this year.

But at what cost? The secrecy and lack of transparency around these two projects are very troubling.

The Ball Government’s plan to use public-private partnerships (P3s) to build Corner Brook health care facilities could cost almost twice as much as public procurement.

Please join us and tell the Ball Government to keep our health care facilities out of the hands of private interests! Meet our 15-foot tall Trojan Horse too!

WHEN: Tuesday, August 15 at 4 p.m.

WHERE: 40 University Drive, Corner Brook

WHO: Speakers will include Mark Hancock, CUPE national president; and Wayne Lucas, CUPE NL president


Media contacts:
Please contact Wayne Lucas or Colleen Reynolds.

 

Meet our Trojan Horse at the Royal St. John’s Regatta

creynolds News Release, Privatization

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador would like to invite everyone to meet our 15-foot tall wooden Trojan Horse at the Royal St. John’s Regatta on August 2. Members will be on hand to talk to the hidden dangers of using public-private partnerships (P3s) to build health care facilities.

The Ball Government plans to use P3 deals to build two health care facilities in Corner Brook – as if it’s a gift to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. But they’re not willing to make public all the details of their value-for-money assessment before the contracts are signed. We think that’s a huge red flag!

Like the mythical Trojan Horse, P3-built health care facilities are a hollow promise that threatens our public health care system with increased costs down the road, leading to fewer beds, job cuts and lower standards of care.

Private financing is more expensive than the rate the province could borrow at and the facilities become too expensive to operate. The health care facilities will be forced to make cuts and the only part of the budget that is not tied up for 30 years are the doctors, the nurses and other staff. Inevitably, quality of care will suffer.

If these P3 deals go through, the provincial government will pay more over the long-term, pushing costs onto generations of taxpayers.

To date, we have wisely avoided using P3 deals in Newfoundland and Labrador. P3s have been a disaster in every jurisdiction they’ve been used – in every province and every sector.

Let’s talk about it. Please join us at the St. John’s Regatta.

Learn more about P3 deals