Charlottetown, PEI – Ashley Clark, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) PEI Division, today expressed disappointment with the PEI Government’s 2024-25 operating budget announcement, stating that it falls short of addressing critical needs within the public sector.
“While the PEI Government’s budget highlights investments in healthcare, housing, and affordability, it simply does not go far enough to address the pressing concerns faced by our frontline workers and residents,” stated Ashley Clark. “Premier Dennis King’s administration continues to overlook the essential needs of our healthcare system and fails to adequately support our valued public sector employees.”
Clark pointed out that despite allocations for healthcare improvements, the budget fails to address the underlying issues contributing to staff shortages, wage disparities, and resource deficiencies within the healthcare sector. “Allocating funds for additional patient medical homes and doctor recruitment is commendable, but without addressing fundamental issues such as bringing long-term care (LTC) workers to the public sector, these measures remain insufficient,” she emphasized. CUPE PEI notes that private sector wages would not need to reach parity with healthcare if PEI embraced LTC as a public service. “Healthcare wages are too low, and that is much worse in private LTC,” said Clark.
Furthermore, Clark criticized the budget for its lack of substantial measures to improve relations with frontline workers. “Premier Dennis King needs to recognize the importance of building better relationships with our frontline workers, who have been tirelessly serving our communities, and that is not reflected at all in our bargaining talks with the province,” Clark asserted. “Improving public services requires serious financial investments and it requires genuine collaboration and respect for public sector employees.”
CUPE PEI urged the PEI Government to prioritize meaningful dialogue with public sector unions and workers to address their concerns effectively. “We call on Premier Dennis King and his government to engage in constructive dialogue with CUPE Locals to develop comprehensive solutions that prioritize the well-being of our workers and the residents they serve,” Clark concluded.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) PEI represents over 3400 members across various sectors, including healthcare, education, municipalities, post-secondary education, long-term care, and more.