Morena is a personal support worker (PSW) at CBI Home Health in St. Catharines, Ont. Originally from El Salvador, she worked as a paramedic in her teenage years and decided to make the big move to Canada with her family to work as a PSW despite many setbacks.
“When I came to Canada, I didn’t have anyone to guide me. I didn’t know English, so I couldn’t ask about college opportunities, and had to take up many odd jobs to support my family,” says Morena. I eventually made enough to go to school, and it was an empowering moment for me. I was finally able to do what I love, because I put in the effort all those years and made it happen.”
Morena found her passion for caregiving at a young age and believes that everyone deserves care no matter where they come from.
“PSWs know how to take care of clients, no matter if they’re young or old, and regardless of what background they come from. There is no discrimination — we must be able to help anyone who comes to us.”
Just like her beliefs on patient care, Morena also strives for equal rights in the workplace. She was one of the people who worked hard to bring SEIU Healthcare into her company, and as a union steward she continues advocating for her rights, even though some of her colleagues have their doubts about the union.
“I am very happy with SEIU Healthcare, but my company is definitely making it difficult for us right now. I want to be able to solve all our problems right away, but I know it’s going to take a while. Everyone is always coming to me with their issues, and my long-time clients are being taken away from me, so I’ve been in constant conflict with my manager. Nobody believes that a union can do anything, but I don’t want to throw away something I worked so hard for, no matter how tired I am of fighting.”