Sharleen Stewart says that, with a June 2014 provincial election imminent, now is the time for all parties to step up and secure historic gains for personal support workers.
“I am disappointed with the decision not to support the budget. Personal supports workers in home and community care haven’t had such a good reason to celebrate a budget in years. The hourly raises the government outlined in its budget are desperately needed. This was a progressive first step in the overall journey toward fair compensation and respect for PSWs who care for our seniors.
SEIU will ensure that homecare is a central issue in the upcoming election and that we elect a government that commits to delivering for PSWs. This election will be crucial to the future of homecare and public healthcare in this province, and we intend to hold MPPs accountable to their promises.”
– SEIU Healthcare president Sharleen Stewart
SEIU Healthcare is pleased with the plan to increase overall home and community care funding by another 5%, or $270 million, in 2014-15. The budget recognizes the vital role that homecare has to play in meeting the needs of an aging population, while maintaining a strong public healthcare system so Ontarians can get care when and where they need it most.
Though deciding to vote against the budget, Andrea Horwath and the NDP clearly stated that they “absolutely” believe that PSWs deserve better wages and that seniors deserve to live in dignity in their retirement, but they don’t feel the current government can deliver on this promise.
However, Sharleen Stewart says that SEIU wants to see a clear campaign commitment from the NDP to match or surpass the items on PSW compensation in the budget. “We’re going to work to elect MPPs that secure progressive gains for frontline healthcare workers, their clients, and their families and we will not allow this historic moment for PSWs be swept aside.”
Yesterday, SEIU Healthcare came out in support of a provincial budget that contained real, concrete items for home and community care. After years of political action and advocacy, most recently through its “Sweet $16” campaign, the healthcare union celebrated the approval of a $1.50/hour raise across the board for publicly funded PSWs retroactive to April 1, along with a budget promise for a further $2.50/hour in the next two years.