Health Sciences Centre staff spent their lunch break in the rain today, trading lunch bags for placards as they protested the cuts announced by Eastern Health recently.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) workers know that 550 fully time equivalent positions will be eliminated, but the details of how those cuts will happen, and the impact it will have on workers, is still unclear.
NAPE president Carol Furlong was at the protest to offer her support, and summed up the feelings of workers at Tuesday night's meeting.
"The way this was handled, they're really concerned that they don't have information that could provide them with any kind of security," she said.
Eastern Health has announced they plan to increase the number of services that are contracted out.
The move to using private companies to provide health care services, like supplying food, is something NAPE has taken a stand against.
"We know that privatizing health care is not the answer," Furlong said.
Some workers, like personal care aide Dave Standard, don't agree with the way Eastern Health informed workers of the upcoming cuts.
"I think it's terrible how they're handling things. I think there should be a better way of doing it than this," he said.
Cutting workers isn't the right way to save money, he said. If it were up to him, he'd have a closer look at the management side when looking for savings.
"I would cut some of the management positions and try to tighten up on a lot of stuff," said.
Joan Reid was also protesting the upcoming cuts on her lunch break.
She has 23 years of service, and said the cuts likely won't affect her position as a domestic worker. She was out to show support for her fellow workers, she said.
"The simple fact is it's going to affect an awful lot of people; it's going to affect patient care," she said of the cuts.
While Eastern Health has said people won't get bumped from their jobs, Reid said it's all in how it's worded.
"I know for a fact when they say there's not going to be any bumping, they're calling it shuffling. That's just a new word for bumping, shuffling is. A lot of my coworkers are really concerned and worried and tormented and everything and I feel for them."
A food services worker who did not wish to have her name used said NAPE workers haven't been told much about the upcoming cuts.
"So far, not a whole lot. Just what we've heard Miss Kominski say, that a lot of them are going to be FTEs, which is full time equivalent hours, however if you take a position out of the system and don't replace it, that's a loss of a job for someone else coming in. So a job gone is a job gone.”