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OPSEU to Grey County: reject privatization plan, support long-term care beds

Markdale – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is calling on Grey County Council to reject a staff plan that would close a long-term care facility in Markdale and also privatize long-term care right across the county.

At a meeting this Thursday, Grey County Council members will be considering a proposal to move public long-term care beds out of Grey Gables in Markdale, sell the publicly-owned home, and contract out the management of day-to-day operations at three facilities the municipality currently runs.

“This community has faced an all-out assault on vital public services,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “It’s about time that the powers that be realize that it is the residents, the workers and our communities that suffer when public services are cut and privatized. Grey Gables is a beautiful and relatively new facility; it is a public asset that belongs to the community.”

The staff report calls for the consolidation of Grey Gables with Rockwood Terrace in Durham and, eventually, the replacement of both facilities by a single new facility in Durham. Residents would be forced to move away from their home community, and loved ones would be forced to travel further.

OPSEU is expressing support for two community rallies this week, which will take place today and tomorrow from 1-5 p.m. outside of the Grey Gables home. Area residents are encouraged to attend the Grey County Council meeting on Thursday, March 23 at 9:15 a.m. (in Council Chambers in Owen Sound), at which time council will be discussing the privatization proposal.

“This is no way to treat our elderly and infirm,” said Thomas. “These are people, after all, not just numbers to be shuffled around, so if council members wish to represent the best interests of the community, they must reject this proposal outright. I encourage OPSEU members and all community members to come out in support of these important community rallies and to attend Thursday’s council meeting. We have strength in numbers, and it’s times like these that we need to show it.”

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