Richmond Hill, Ontario — The below statement is from Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario:
STATEMENT FROM SEIU HEALTHCARE PRESIDENT, SHARLEEN STEWART:
SEIU Healthcare advocated for an across the board wage increase for all healthcare workers at the onset of this pandemic, but a temporary pay bump cannot be a replacement for the personal protective equipment too many workers are still being denied.
While the news of this increase will be welcomed by healthcare workers who are struggling financially, it should be made retroactive to include those who are on unpaid leave as a result of quarantine or contracting COVID-19 themselves.
Our government can demonstrate if they truly believe these workers are heroes by making this temporary increase permanent.
Last year our union called on the provincial government to force profitable corporations to do the right thing and invest more of their profits into better frontline care. Instead they imposed a cruel wage cap for many healthcare workers, including cleaners, personal support workers and nurses. Now is the time to revoke Bill 124.
Further, the government must reform the system to include:
- An ongoing supply of PPE for every essential worker
- Full-time jobs with benefits and a pension because one job is enough
- Higher staffing levels to improve quality care for residents and seniors
Any government that puts an extra dime into the pockets of for-profit long-term care corporations—like Chartwell, Revera, Extendicare, and Sienna—instead of the workers who provide hands on care to our families, can expect to have SEIU Healthcare on the other side of that fight.
We look forward to reviewing the details.
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