Day Two: Personal Support Workers on strike; SEIU Healthcare leaders on province-wide homecare tour

(December 12, 2013 - Richmond Hill, ON)

SEIU Healthcare president Sharleen Stewart and vice-president Manny Carvalho are on a province-wide tour bringing messages of solidarity to 4,500 personal support workers who walked off the job yesterday to support their demands for justice and a living wage.

 

Day one kicked off with an energetic rally at Queens’ Park attended by 400 PSWs from the Toronto area. Ms. Stewart called on the provincial government to ensure homecare dollars are spent on client care rather than company profits and executive bonuses.

 

The itinerary for the two-day tour includes stops at local offices of Red Cross Care Partners, the for-profit company that is the largest homecare agency in the province, and Community Care Access Councils, the provincial funding agency.

 

Leaders’ Tour:

 

Thursday, December 12

 

1. Belleville CCAC Office, 470 Dundas St. East (Bayview Mall)

2. Kingston RCCP Office, 2790 Princess St.

3. Bancroft CCAC Office, 1 Manor Lane

4. Peterborough RCCP Office, 700 Clonsilla Ave.

 

Friday, December 13

 

1. Woodstock RCCP Office, 77 Finkle St.

2. Cambridge CCAC Office, 73 Water St.

3. Kitchener CCAC Office, 141 Weber St.

4. Guelph CCAC Office, 450 Speedvale, Unit 201

 

@J4PSWs

@SEIUHealthCan

www.j4pswsblog.wordpress.com

--30--

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

 

For more information:

 

Gilleen Witkowski
SEIU Healthcare
416-805-0305
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

IMPORTANT FOR MEMBERS: PSWs launch province-wide strike

Personal Support Workers launch province-wide strike against Red Cross Care Partners; SEIU Healthcare president Sharleen Stewart wants justice for PSWs

Media Release

December 10, 2013

Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, has given notice to Red Cross Care Partners that Personal Support Workers across Ontario will walk off the job tomorrow, December 11th.

The workers have been in a legal strike position for several weeks and recently voted to reject a tentative agreement with the largest homecare agency in Ontario, a for-profit company. They have been working without a contract since April.

“These workers are tired of being pushed around and taken for granted,” said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare. “They are paid poverty-level wages of $15 an hour and are expected to pay for gas out of pocket when they drive long distances to make home visits.”

In the last two years PSW earnings have been reduced by about 7% as a result of a wage freeze combined with inflation and a massive increase in the price of gas.

Ms. Stewart said the government of Ontario has been warned that its homecare system is falling apart as agencies misuse public funds and exploit the workforce.

“We estimate 50 cents of every dollar given to Red Cross ($143 million this year) is skimmed off for bureaucracy, excessive executive pay and profit. Where is the accountability in this system for delivering quality care to seniors and vulnerable clients?”

Last year the CEO of the Red Cross Society was given a 9% pay increase, bringing his salary to $297 thousand, which is 11 times the average salary of a PSW.

About 4,500 PSWs will be on strike. “We take this action with a heavy heart,” said Ms. Stewart. “Nobody wants to be on strike in this economy and at this time of year, but the fight for justice doesn’t always fit into a neat calendar. Our members are determined to take a stand.”

Day one of the strike, Wednesday, will include a noon rally at Queen’s Park of PSWs from the Toronto area who will gather at City Hall and walk up University Ave. to the legislature.

--30--

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

For more information:
Gilleen Witkowski
SEIU Healthcare
416-805-0305
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Personal Support Workers vote to reject tentative agreement; Red Cross facing province-wide homecare strike

Attention News Editors

(December 2, 2013 - Richmond Hill, ON)

A tentative agreement between SEIU Healthcare, representing more than 4,500 personal support workers (PSWs), and Red Cross Care Partners, the largest for-profit homecare agency in Ontario, has been rejected in a ratification vote by SEIU Healthcare members.

Sharleen Stewart, SEIU Healthcare president, said the ball is now in the employer’s court:

“Our members are sick and tired of being exploited and taken for granted. If Red Cross wants to avoid a strike, they will have to stop paying poverty-level wages to people who put their heart and soul into taking care of vulnerable clients.”

Ratification meetings were held across the province during the last two weeks, where details of the tentative agreement were met with disappointment by members. The rejection vote sends a strong a message that members are prepared to strike to back their fight for justice.

Ms. Stewart said the union remains in a legal strike position:

“Nobody wants to strike in this economy, but these workers deserve a living wage and to be treated with respect for the role they play in sustaining our healthcare system.”

SEIU Healthcare has reported the results of the ratification vote to the employer and is waiting for a response. Next steps are underway to prepare for a province-wide strike.

--30-- 

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

For more information:
Gilleen Witkowski
SEIU Healthcare
416-805-0305
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SEIU Healthcare prepares for province-wide homecare strike

(November 4, 2013 - Richmond Hill, ON)

Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, reported to the Ontario Ministry of Labour today that bargaining with Red Cross Care Partners has not produced an agreement and her union is taking steps to prepare for a province-wide strike involving 4,500 Personal Support Workers.

In a video statement, Stewart said “We do not take this action lightly, but we have been left with no choice.” She reported that RCCP, Ontario’s largest homecare agency, will spend half the funds it gets from the province this year, about $72 million, on “administration, company profits and extremely generous executive salaries.”

The average wage of PSWs working at RCCP is $15 an hour. The agency is proposing to extend a five-year wage freeze, with no change in working conditions to address the issue of workers having to pay out-of-pocket for gas mileage to visit their clients.

“These are the people who take care of our seniors and who provide the kind of quality homecare services that allow clients to remain healthy and independent, and in their own home,” said Stewart.

The video statement can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ujaq06EV5-w&feature=youtu.be

--30--

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

For more information:

Gilleen Witkowski
SEIU Healthcare
416-805-0305
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Justice for Personal Support Workers: SEIU launches campaign to pressure Red Cross Care Partners

(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.

--30--

 


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

 

For more information:

 

Roger Jabaly
SEIU Healthcare
416-575-1780
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Toronto City Council passes resolution calling on federal and provincial governments to fulfill the promise of homecare

(October 9, 2013 - Richmond Hill, ON) Toronto City Council unanimously passed a resolution today moved by Councillors Peter Milczyn and Josh Matlow calling on the federal and provincial governments to fulfill the promise of homecare. The resolution is an initiative of local SEIU Healthcare members who deliver homecare services throughout Toronto.

CONTINUE READING