Dozens of health care workers at Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital were given layoff notices Thursday, as the province began shutting down a 30-bed unit designed to transition people into long-term care.
"It's like I'm in a bad dream, or I had a concussion [and] I'm on heavy medication," said nursing aide Fai Narayan, who was one of the 41 laid-off workers.
"I'm just getting this bad dream -- somebody just shake me up and wake me up."
Narayan and the others work in the transitional care unit, which is set up to provide space for seniors waiting to enter long-term care, or return to their homes.
Alberta Health Services says the unit was always meant to be temporary and is being closed down now because the government has added hundreds of new long-term care beds, easing the backlog in the system.
But the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents many of the workers, says long-term care is still crowded and the transitional unit is still vital.
AHS says the workers will be offered other positions in the healthcare system.
A letter to staff obtained by CBC News outlines three options for the workers: take a vacant position, take a severance package or bump a worker who has less seniority.
Narayan says the idea of bumping another worker makes her uncomfortable and that the cuts mean someone will be out of work, even if it isn’t her.
"If I have seniority I get to bump somebody out, for sure somebody else will be bumped out," she said.
"Today my concern is what it is right now. [It’s] somebody else's worry tomorrow."