PRESS RELEASE Kitchener, Ontario (December 11, 2019) — Hundreds of frontline healthcare workers and union supporters rally at the CarePartners’ corporate head office to fight back against the homecare agency’s recent move toward locking out their almost 3,000 personal support workers (PSWs). A lockout by CarePartners could leave thousands of seniors without the daily care they need during the holiday season.
SEIU Healthcare, the union which represents the PSWs at CarePartners, has been working to negotiate a fair deal for workers that would see more PSWs enter the workforce, end the retention crisis, and reduce the backlog that’s preventing seniors to receive care at home when they need it.
CarePartners, a for-profit homecare agency with contracts from the Ontario government to schedule homecare services, has been unwilling to negotiate new terms that would end the recruitment and retention crisis created as a result of the corporation’s poor wages.
Last week, the CarePartners corporation filed a notice with the Ontario Labour Relations Board that would give them authorization to lock out their employees.
SEIU Healthcare is calling on CarePartners to come back to the bargaining table with a commitment to:
- Avoid a cruel lockout that would both leave seniors without the care they need and put PSWs out of work during the holidays;
- Pay PSWs a living wage that includes a cost-of-living increase;
- Finally end the recruitment and retention crisis so the backlog of seniors waiting for care is eliminated.
“Everyday I hear from more PSWs who are leaving CarePartners because the corporation is unwilling to pay employees enough to support themselves,” said Gloria Turney, a CarePartners PSW. “As PSWs we love caring for others, but business executives at CarePartners make it harder and harder for us to stay with this agency.”
“For CarePartners to start the process of locking their PSWs out just weeks before the holidays is disgusting,” said SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart. “These passionate caregivers and the seniors they care for should be looking forward to this special time of year. Instead, they are forced to worry about a lockout that would turn their lives upside down. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure personal support workers and their clients are treated with fairness, dignity and respect. We call on CarePartners to negotiate terms that end their retention failures.”
Retention issues are having a direct impact on the care that seniors are receiving. SEIU Healthcare recently launched a video about Don and Penny, a husband and wife who rely on CarePartners but have been constantly let down due to the shortage of CarePartners PSWs. The video has over 250,000 views across on social media. (http://www.stuckinthepast.ca)
CarePartners is no stranger to locking their workers out. In early June, CarePartners locked out 29 schedulers in Sudbury. After a 22-week lockout, CarePartners closed the Sudbury office in November, resulting in all 29 positions being moved elsewhere. This recent situation has CarePartners’ PSWs and their clients feeling uneasy.
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, homecare, 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 media inquiries, contact:
SEIU Healthcare, Head of Strategic Communication