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Doctors at Owen Sound clinic punch drunk with greed: Thomas

Owen Sound – The appalling greed of the doctors who own the strikebound Family Health Organization has made it impossible to continue negotiations, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said Wednesday.

Talks between striking OPSEU members and the doctors who own the Owen Sound clinic broke down Tuesday after the physicians said they want to lay off all but a couple of the striking workers.

 “I can’t believe the arrogance and the shameful greed of these doctors,” said Thomas.  “They’re selling out their dedicated employees to stuff their pockets with as many public dollars as they can, they’re punch drunk with greed.”

An agreement seemed within reach Tuesday but the doctors are insisting on laying off the Registered Nurse, nine Registered Practical Nurses and five clerical staff positions at the clinic. They indicated they wanted to create new positions titled “Medical Office Assistant,” “Patient Flow Coordinator” and “Custodial Support.” The new positions would not be part of a professional college that ensures patient confidentiality, standards of care and health care teamwork.

“It takes a dedicated team to provide quality health care,” Thomas said. “How can we have universal health care if these clinics are solely run for profit?”

“Owen Sound deserves a lot better than ‘Patient Flow Coordinators,’ whatever they are.”

Thomas is calling on Health Minister Christine Elliott to intervene in the strike and hold the doctors accountable.  He also called on Elliott to order an audit of family health care clinics.

“During this strike we’ve seen public health dollars spent on high-priced Toronto lawyers and private security, it’s time to lift up the rock and scrutinize all of these clinics,” Thomas said.  “Taxpayers need to know the public money being spent in these clinics is being spent on health care.”

The workers at the Family Health Organization have been on strike since May 22, they’ve only asked to be paid the same as employees doing the same work at other facilities.

First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida urged the striking OPSEU members to stay strong and not be disheartened.

“We haven’t seen anything so ridiculous from physicians since the Three Stooges did a skit on doctors, Almeida said. “But Dr. Larry , Dr. Curly and Dr. Moe were meant to be funny. What we’re seeing in Owen Sound is no laughing matter.”

“I say to our members on the picket line, OPSEU will go to the wall for you.”

For more information:  OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931