Diana Fu is a personal support worker (PSW) at the Mon Sheong Foundation Long-Term Care Centre in Richmond Hill. She originally worked as a music teacher upon graduating from secondary school in Hong Kong, but then decided to pursue a career in nursing after moving to Canada and taking a training course for PSWs provided by Yee Hong at George Brown College.
While she loves music “more than anything”, she says that working as a PSW brings her much happiness and purpose in her life.
“PSWs are the foundation of work in nursing homes, and I’m humbled to help people in every aspect. It makes me feel useful, as without us, our residents unfortunately cannot do many things by themselves.”
She is also a proud steward at Mon Sheong, where she strives to strengthen communication in the workplace between stewards and SEIU Healthcare members.
“I have a dream, and that is to create a harmonious atmosphere in my workplace. If all my colleagues have the same vision and push for change together, then we could significantly improve our situation. To do that, however, we need proportional representation in our various departments, as there is a lack of stewardship in many of them.”
Passivity among members is another issue at Mon Sheong, and Diana explains that there is a need to get members to understand why putting their collective agreement into practice is important.
“Our job is very tiring, and on top of that we still have an obligation to our families. Despite this, our members seem reluctant to ask for fairer treatment. They appear to be satisfied if they have more shifts and can support their families with their current salaries, but they deserve better pay and more respect.”
As for union involvement, she believes that members should work toward building a stronger relationship with SEIU Healthcare so that they are able to seek effective solutions to the tension at Mon Sheong.
“It is crucial that our members do their part in advocating for a better and happier work environment. Our union is not a static entity, and the members should work with the union to find better ways to convince our employer that the members’ efforts in resident care should be taken seriously. Remember that nobody can do the job for you. If you feel something is not right, that is when you take action.”