ATTENTION MEMBERS: SOS - Save Our Services

Protect our Community Hospitals from Cuts and Privatization

The Ontario government is taking a giant step towards privatized health care by cutting services and procedures from local hospitals and allowing them to be delivered by for-profit corporations instead. Our community hospitals need to be supported and protected, not cut and dismantled. And you can help!

What’s going on?

Ontario’s public, non-profit local hospitals are under threat. The Ontario government has proposed a new model of private clinics that offers no legislated protection against for-profit privatization. The government plans to establish private clinics expressly not covered under the Public Hospitals Act.

Already, for-profit corporations are lining up to bid for hospital services and procedures. Services that are being cut from local hospitals, all across Ontario, are being privatized by for-profit corporations. Some examples include physiotherapy, endoscopies and cataract surgeries, and there are many more to come under the proposed new model.

Why does this matter?

Already, the existing private clinics are more likely than hospitals to charge patients an array of user fees and to engage in extra billing. This means that for-profit, private clinics, exempted from our public healthcare laws, are charging patients for services and procedures on top of OHIP.

Worse yet, there are significant concerns about quality and safety issues in these private clinics. In one well-publicized case, an Ottawa area private endoscopy clinic failed to properly sterilize equipment, resulting in 6,800 patients notified that they should be tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C. In 2007, it was found that 13% of colonoscopies performed in private clinics were not completed. And research also found that there are more missed cancers in private clinics that do diagnostic testing than in hospitals.

The government’s plan for private clinics would des-stabilize our local hospitals’ budgets, increase the cost of healthcare, and open the door to private healthcare in Canada.

What can I do to stop this?

At SEIU, we support a universal, accessible, public healthcare system. When you need care, you should pull out your health card, not your credit card.

That’s why we are taking a stand to save our services and protect our community hospitals from cuts and privatization.

In partnership with the Ontario Health Coalition, SEIU is helping build a door-to-door campaign supplemented with media events and massive public outreach across Ontario to raise public awareness of private clinics and protect local hospital services. The campaign will culminate in a referendum that will show the government that Ontarians don’t want to pay for-profit corporations for healthcare in private clinics.

How do I get involved?

We need your help to raise awareness about the issue and hold the Ontario government to account. Our message to stop privatizing healthcare services is most powerful when it comes from frontline healthcare workers like you. The Ontario Health Coalition is holding meetings across Ontario to plan ground campaigns. Please find the location nearest you to attend.

KITCHENER-WATERLOO REGION

Saturday, February 22, 2014

11am at Unifor (CAW) Hall, 600 Wabanaki Drive.

Brunch will be provided.

PETERBOROUGH

Sunday, February 23, 2014

11am at Peterborough Public Library, 345 Aylmer St.

Brunch will be provided.

LONDON

Monday, February 24, 2014

6pm at Fox & Fiddle Restaurant, King and Wellington Sts.

Dinner will be provided.

GREATER SUDBURY  AREA

Monday, March 3, 2014

6pm at OPSEU office, 866 Newgate Ave.

Dinner will be provided

Help save our hospital services and protect our community hospitals from cuts and privatization.

For more information, contact Patrick DeRochie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

PSWs Meet with Premier, Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Health, Deb Matthews in Queen's Park, Toronto

On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 6 SEIU Healthcare homecare personal support workers (PSWs) sat down with Premier Wynne and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews to talk about their issues and what is urgently needed to fix the ailing homecare system. The 6 homecare PSWs work out of RCCP, VON, CBI and Paramed.

The meeting came after the end to a two-week long homecare strike over compensation and respect for PSWs. Minister Matthews pointed out that this was a historic moment, stating “never before have personal support workers and two heads of government sat in the Premier's chambers to discuss homecare.”

After sharing their personal stories, Melynda, one of the PSWs and speaking for the first time to an elected official, expressed that she was very encouraged that political lobbying could be something that she can see herself becoming good at.

In about 20 years, nearly one in four people in Ontario will be a senior.

Policy-level changes homecare union SEIU Healthcare and our PSWs are seeking include:

•Cutting waiting lists for homecare
•Providing relief to family caregivers
•Guaranteeing security and peace of mind for families by ensuring that every home care health professional is trained and qualified
•Investing in the frontline of public healthcare, not the bottom line of healthcare CEOs
•Demanding transparency and accountability in the delivery of homecare services
•Ensuring fairness for frontline Personal Support Workers (PSWs)

The PSWs conveyed an overall message that their services are essential and that their work deserves respect.

Personal support workers awarded improved contract following 2-week winter strike

RICHMOND HILL, ON, Jan. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - "I'm happy to report that on January 8, a neutral arbitrator issued a new contract for our PSWs working out of Red Cross. It is an improvement over the previous tentative agreement and proves that when we stand together, we can put pressure on employers and government for change," said Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Healthcare, the union representing the 4,500 caregivers who were on strike across Ontario in late December.

Interest arbitration is normally reserved for essential service workers but was used in this case to help resolve the strike on its second week just before the holidays. The contract is binding for the workers and for the employer, Red Cross/Red Cross Care Partners.

"I was blown away by the passion and dedication of these women and men who stood up for their rights after rejecting a contract that didn't do them or their services justice," added Stewart.

SEIU Healthcare continues its campaign to fix the homecare system. It intends to work with government to mandate substantial improvements in recruiting and retaining homecare PSWs. To do this the government must recognize the value of this critical work by providing homecare PSWs the same wages, benefits, and compensation for all hours worked just like their counterparts in hospitals and nursing homes.

The PSWs voted down a tentative agreement in November and went on strike on December 11. The parties agreed to interest arbitration as a means to end the strike as they were not able to negotiate a contract that would be satisfactory for both parties.

SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart speaks about the Heart of Healthcare

SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart spoke about the Heart of Healthcare - our members who go above and beyond in both their work and home life. She was joined by other labour leaders to support the excellent work being done by the David Busby Street Centre which advocates for and helps improve conditions for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The event was presented by the Barrie NDP and was held at the D.I.Y. Arts Collective. Watch her speech here.

BBQ fun for everyone!

SEIU Healthcare celebrated the summer season with their Caribbean Festival BBQ in High Park. The 2nd annual event brought together SEIU members, their families and political figures to celebrate diversity and to honour the work that healthcare professionals contribute to Ontarians across the province.

The event was attended by MPP for Davenport, Jonah Schein, MP for Davenport, Andrew Cash, NDP Member of Parliament for the federal riding of Trinity-Spadina, Olivia Chow and City of Toronto councillors Anthony Perruzza and Ana Bailao.

On the menu was jerk chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs and ice cream from an ice cream truck. Children spent the afternoon playing games and doing arts and crafts with the numerous volunteers and Human Rights committee members.

SEIU Healthcare Secretary Treasurer Cathy Carroll addressed the crowd of over 500 people, thanking the hard work of SEIU’s Human Rights Committee for organizing the successful event. “Our members of SEIU are some of the most diverse and talented people I’ve ever met, I’m so proud that we have events like this that showcase that.”

Check out the video highlights on Youtube!

and on Flicker

SEIU rocks the park on fishing day!

Nearly 200 SEIU members and their families came to SEIU’s 3rd Annual Fishing Day, held on Wednesday, July 10 at Chippawa Creek Conservation Area. Everyone had the chance to play games, enjoy a delicious BBQ, and of course, catch a few fish.

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