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CUPE grills P.E.I. election candidates in a pair of town hall meetings


Health-care support workers on Prince Edward Island grilled election candidates at Saturday’s town hall meeting in Summerside.

Staffing issues, privatization concerns, and uneven bonuses were the top issues discussed amongst the 10 candidates and about 50 members who attended the meetings.

It’s the second in as many days, as a meeting was held in Charlottetown on Friday. It was a chance for union membership to put questions to the people who might be representing them.

The leaders of the Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, and Green Party spoke at those sessions, but the leader of the Conservative Party did not.

“Are we disappointed? Well yes, because it would be nice to hear from the PC leader what his views are on these very important issues,” said Chris Lewis, CUPE Health Council President.

CUPE members have been openly critical of Dennis King’s health-care retention bonuses offered to nurses, but not others like cleaning, lab, and nutrition staff.

Chad McNeill is one of those nutrition workers at the Prince County Hospital in Summerside. He says candidates need to focus on other health-care workers.

“Nursing was deemed to be an upper class of healthcare worker, and we were deemed to be below, and we were never offered that bonus to begin with,” he said.

The candidates responded to questions for two hours.

“I don’t feel like all the questions were answered full by all the parties,” said McNeill. "I feel like there’s a lot of misunderstand of what the issues are.”

There are four CUPE locals representing public health-care support workers on P.E.I. with two of them working under expired contacts, and the other two’s expiring before voting day.

This is the second weekend of the election. It's a short campaign, with Islanders going to the polls April 3.

For full coverage of Prince Edward Island news, visit our dedicated page. Top Stories

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