PRESS RELEASE: Leaders Mary Kay Henry and Sharleen Stewart to meet with Ontario Premier on women’s issues

SEIU focusing on raising women up

Leaders Mary Kay Henry and Sharleen Stewart to deliver remarks at women’s conference and meet with Ontario Premier on women’s issues

Thursday, March 5, 2015 (Richmond Hill, Ontario) –

Tomorrow, Mary Kay Henry, International President of Service Employees International Union, is travelling from the United States to meet with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne alongside Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Healthcare, Canada’s healthcare union.

The two union leaders representing over 2 million low-income workers from across North America are commemorating International Women’s Day by discussing ways to empower women through politics.

“The “Fight for 15” movement that we’ve been leading in the United States is showing the will of working people across different sectors to pull together and fight for a living wage,” says Mary Kay Henry. “I’m pleased to be able to meet with Ontario’s first woman Premier to discuss ways in which we can raise women up in Canada.”

“In Ontario our union is made up of 85% women,” says Sharleen Stewart. “We’ll be looking at what we can learn from the United States on the political front and how to achieve progress on better pay for women, especially those providing homecare services at a time when the government is prioritizing bringing care back to the home.”

As the head of the union that mobilized hundreds of thousands of activists to help raise Barack Obama to power, Mary Kay is here to lend her voice to empower Ontario’s women to become leaders. Her visit will coincide with a speech at the SEIU Healthcare Women’s Day Assembly in Richmond Hill, and end at Queen’s Park with a meeting with Ontario’s first woman Premier.

In Ontario last year, SEIU Healthcare secured a wage increase of $1.50/hour for over 30,000 personal support workers, to be complemented by an additional $1.50/hour next month. The healthcare union is focused on providing stability to workers to reduce turnover that can be disruptive to clients and their homecare services.

Working together as a partner with government on healthcare policy, SEIU Healthcare hopes to find solutions for women in the workplace---particularly the precarious working conditions of homecare workers.

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.

For media inquiries, contact:

Gilleen Witkowski
SEIU Healthcare

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