(October 29, 2013 - Richmond Hill, ON)“Why is Red Cross Care Partners exploiting personal support workers?” This question is the focus of a campaign launched this week by SEIU Healthcare (Service Employees International Union).
Sharleen Stewart, SEIU President, said the campaign is intended to put pressure on the largest homecare agency in Ontario to negotiate a fair collective agreement. “Our 4,500 members are sick and tired of being taken for granted. These workers are the heart of our healthcare system, providing quality care for seniors at home and getting poverty-level wages in return.”
“PSWs have been losing ground to inflation and frozen wages, while highly-paid senior executives of RCCP have been using public funds to give themselves hefty salary increases,” said Stewart. RCCP was created as a for-profit company in 2012 from a merger between Red Cross Society and Care Partners. It will receive about $143 million in homecare funding this year from the provincial government.
The Justice4PSWs campaign began this week with a number of activities, including:
- A demonstration in Ottawa and Gatineau on Monday at the national homecare summit organized by the Canadian Home Care Association
- The unfolding of a campaign banner over a Highway 401 overpass in Brockville by local PSWs from the area
- A flash mob gathering of SEIU members and community supporters at the Peterborough Square mall in front of the local RCCP office
The campaign includes advertising on billboards and in newspapers across Ontario and on TTC buses and inside subway cars in Toronto.
“Nobody wants to go on strike in this economy, and our members care deeply for the welfare of their clients, but these workers are prepared to do whatever it takes to get some respect and fair treatment,” said Stewart.
The collective agreement covering PSWs at RCCP expired in April this year. Bargaining continues until one of the parties requests a “No Board” conciliation report with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, following which there is a 17 day period before either party can take further action.
About SEIU Healthcare
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 55,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, home care, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. SEIU Healthcare has a strong track record of improving wages, benefits and working conditions for healthcare workers, supporting the training and development needs of its members, and strengthening standards in the management and delivery of patient and client care. www.seiuhealthcare.ca
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