The strike is over; we’re moving to interest arbitration!
Two weeks ago you stood alongside your 4,500 Sisters and Brothers across the province. You stood for justice, fairness, and respect.
I can’t tell you how proud I am to represent such a dedicated group of caregivers. I was blown away by the stories I heard on the picket lines that I visited. On behalf of everyone at SEIU Healthcare, I want to sincerely thank you; I know it’s been a very challenging two weeks.
But after a two-week standoff, I’m happy to report that we have made a significant move towards justice: we are going into interest arbitration, the first step in being deemed essential service workers.
This means that as of Friday, December 27, our strike is over and you can go back to work! Please contact your supervisors for your schedule or if you would like to go to work sooner.
Over the last many weeks, SEIU Healthcare tried negotiating directly with the Red Cross, but they refused to budge or act compassionately towards you, the caregivers who make their work so meaningful.
When it became clear that the negotiations were not going to yield the results we were demanding, SEIU Healthcare and the Red Cross both agreed to use a neutral arbitrator to resolve disagreements by objectively considering the positions of SEIU Healthcare and Red Cross.
This is the most fair and neutral way to resolve a strike that could have gone on for much longer.
Usually interest arbitration is a step in the bargaining process reserved for essential service workers. Going through the process for our PSWs creates a strong argument to also give you the designation.
Sisters and Brothers, I hope you are proud of how far we have come together in our fight for justice. Never before have our PSWs dominated local headlines across the province, garnering support from community members, MPPs, local businesses, and mayors alike. It is because of your high spirits and chants that Ontarians heard us loud and clear: we are PSWs and we will not be exploited!
That is why I am hopeful that the arbitrator sides with the caregivers, the people at the frontline of the homecare system. I am a firm believer in the work you do every day, and I’m confident that the arbitrator will make a decision based on justice.
However, the Justice4PSWs campaign is far from over. Even after we get a new contract, we will continue to put pressure on decision-makers to deem you an essential service, and to fix our homecare system to ensure you get the fair treatment you and your clients deserve.
Together, we will get there.
Thank you and happy holidays to you and your families
President, SEIU Healthcare