Richmond Hill, Ontario – Tomorrow, 128 Developmental Service Workers (DSWs) across the Greater Toronto Area are exercising their right to strike after union attempts to deliver better care outcomes with safety and security for all were repeatedly met with deplorable offers by management of Kerry’s Place that would, among other things, leave vulnerable clients exposed to staff without paid sick days.
Individuals at Kerry’s Place deserve exceptional care, but extremely long shifts leave staff exhausted and susceptible to preventable errors and physical injury, for which there is no WSIB coverage.
After being subjected to Bill 124’s wage restraints for the past three years, workers are concerned systemically low wages will hamper recruitment and retention efforts, thereby jeopardizing care over the term of the contract.
Further, workers have conveyed a sincere disappointment in senior management at Kerry’s Place who do little to address racism directed at the mostly Jamaican- and Nigerian-Canadian staff.
“DSWs are striking because they cannot in good conscious support a workplace that leaves people without safety and security,” said Murray Cooke, Union Representative with SEIU Healthcare. “Forcing staff to choose between paying their bills or showing up to work sick is reckless and leaves clients at risk. Denying staff paid sick days during this ongoing pandemic and worsening flu season is unacceptable. The CEO of Kerry’s Place is failing to meet her obligations to quality care outcomes, and we urge her to come back to the bargaining table with a mandate to improve the conditions of work and care.”
While talks first broke down last Wednesday, in an effort to avert the strike, the union invited the employer to reconvene today; unfortunately, bargaining between the parties ended Sunday evening without progress to resolve the workplace issues.
SEIU Healthcare’s DSWs will form their strike lines starting at 8 a.m. at Kerry’s Place Regional Office located at 222 Lesmill Road, Toronto.
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. www.seiuhealthcare.ca