CAW Local 199 Leads Way on Niagara Health System Changes

September 6, 2011, 5:00 PM EST

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The long overdue appointment of a Supervisor to take over the Niagara Health System can be credited, in part to the actions of CAW Local 199 in St. Catharines, Ontario and other partners

The Niagara Health System (NHS) operates three area hospitals in St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara, Ontario and has come under fire in the past two years for major cuts to staff and services, including emergency departments.  Most recently the NHS has declared a C Difficile outbreak, that many believe may have been covered up for months. (C Difficile is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and other serious intestinal conditions and is a particular concern for hospital patients and long-term care facility residents).

CAW Local 199 President Wayne Gates has been an active member of the Niagara Health Coalition for several years and was recently elected to the Niagara Falls City Council.

He has been a strong health care advocate, pressuring for change by the Ministry of Health And Long Term Care to clean up the NHS.

On August 10, Local 199 hosted a public press conference, for the first time allowing surviving family members the opportunity to share their heartbreaking stories of loss caused directly by the C Difficile outbreak in NHS, that has to date claimed the lives of 33 people.

More than 100 concerned citizens, as well as several members of the media, listened to the heartbreaking stories regarding the outbreak.

"There were very few dry eyes in the house, as people told their personal stories, of what could have very likely been preventable deaths of their loved ones," said Gates.

"Getting a supervisor appointed is just the first step; we will have to be diligent in making sure our health care system leaves no one behind," said Gates.

All CAW members are encouraged to take part in the Ontario Health Coalition's Public Rally at Queens Park, September 13, 2011 at noon.  Buses will be sent from most communities and you can contact your local coalition or visit for further information. 

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