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2013-12-11 at 13:18

Cold strike

By Leith Dunick,
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Frigid temperatures did little Wednesday to discourage striking personal support care workers from marching on a picket line demanding higher wages and better working conditions.

About 25 members of the local branch of the Service Employees International Union Healthcare went on strike as of midnight Wednesday, said employee representative Bill Joblin.

“We’re here in demonstration to try to get these employees a living wage, to try to provide them with a proper benefit package and try to allow them the opportunity to properly provide for their families,” Joblin said.

“Their wages are definitely under $15 an hour. To get to the $15 an hour rate they have to be there for 6,000 hours, which is four or five years.”

Joblin added the workers have been without a contract since April.

He called the workers heroes, explaining why they should be in line for a hefty increase.

“They take care of our mothers, our fathers, our disabled children. Nobody really knows what the Community Care Access Workers do. They go into a house in a neighbourhood and nobody really understands the kind of quality of work that they do,” Joblin said.

“These people are so dedicated to their clients and it’s a really difficult time to be out right now, but they have to stand up for their own families and try to provide the best that they can. That’s why we’re here today.”

On Tuesday Joblin told reporters personal support care workers, who work under the Red Cross Care Partners banners, make a maximum of $14.50 an hour under their most recent contract.

Kari Jefford, president of Canadian Auto Workers local 229, joined workers on the picket line, saying health-care employees are under attack across the country and across the province.

“In this day and age, it’s ridiculous that corporations are getting richer and richer and our workers are under more and more pressure,” Jefford said.

“PSWs, as well as many more health-care workers across Ontario and in our region alone are usually underpaid and are working the hardest without that many resources for them.”

Workers have been in a legal strike position for several weeks and recently rejected Red Cross Partners’ latest contract offer.

According to a release issued on Tuesday, personal support workers have seen their earnings drop seven per cent over the past two years, directly tied to a wage freeze, inflation and the price of gas.

About 4,500 workers across Ontario were expected to walk off the job on Wednesday.



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patti says:
My neighbor has PSW care ~ she takes her prescribed medication, falls asleep, and so do they.
12/11/2013 2:17:27 PM
favpal says:
Both my parents require care as does my 91 yr old gramma very few are actually doing their jobs my sister caught one on a cell phone hiding in the kitchen when it was a cleaning day not all are bad but in last 5 years most are thats even if they show up
12/11/2013 5:34:38 PM
Tachyion says:
Attempting to be non offensive here....but Patti appears not to have taken her meds. Children should not be permitted to post opinions on this site.
12/11/2013 10:10:48 PM
educator says:
Stay strong, you deserve much more than $14.50 an hour for the work you do.
12/11/2013 11:42:33 PM
gremlin says:
Kari Jefford, this is probably going to go over your head but "when corporations do well their employees stay employed". Also, "stockholders & people with mutual funds" in the corporations you seem to hate do well.

Here's an idea, if you hate "those evil corporations" sooooooo much why not get rid of all your electronic toys, big screen TV's, cars, etc. I'm sure that will tell them, after-all, "your a man of principal right?

The fact-of-the-matter is YOU CAN THANK YOUR FELLOW GREEDY UNION MEMBERS for the "financial crisis" this province is in. There's NO MONEY LEFT to give a raise. This is what happens when there's "out-of-control greed" & a "spineless government".

All you have to do is look around Thunder Bay to see the corporations that have closed or moved out because of UNION GREED that destroyed them.
12/12/2013 2:05:36 AM
sg says:
My goodness you're bitter. The fact of the matter is that the middle class earner IS NOT the cause of the financial crisis. Give your head a huge shake wouldja?

I'm sure the OPG offered the same argument. *snort*
12/12/2013 11:20:51 AM
Dockboy says:
Patti, have you ever heard the expression " what goes around comes around"?
12/12/2013 11:02:58 AM
TWM says:
As many companies have been doing lately, outsourcing the jobs to skilled foreign workers for less wages and benefits. Asking for a higher wage and better conditions or pensions seems to defeat the purpose. A company announced it was closing shop and expanding in Thailand, with a shortage of skilled workers, this company could bring in foreign workers? Union greed? I suppose so, just don't look for a higher standard of living w/o them.
12/12/2013 1:01:37 PM
gremlin says:
sg, Wayne79, TWM:

I clearly stated GREEDY UNIONS & SPINELESS GOVERNMENT are to blame. I noticed you didn't say who or what is to blame. What was your point Wayne?

TWM, a "raise in pay should be earned based on a workers work ethic, dependability, quality of work, etc." I know this is a "foreign concept" amongst union members.

Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. I've belonged to two unions in my working career. "At least 50% of union members aren't worth $5.00 per hour". Statistics Canada can provide you with info regarding "work absenteeism rates" between union & non-union workers just as an example of what I mean.

12/12/2013 4:17:36 PM
Knauffer says:
How many jobs have you had and lost? You told us you were a cab driver not long ago.
As a small business owner for years I will not hire a company with non-unionized workers to do anything for the simple reason that unionized workers are trained better and know what they are doing.
12/13/2013 9:40:38 AM
gremlin says:

No, I didn't say I was a cab driver. I said "I drove cab for a couple months several years ago". Do you see the difference?

BTW, I've never "lost a job" but I've "created them by starting businesses". Just so you know its called "having initiative".

The second part of your post had me laughing. Thanks, I needed that.
12/13/2013 11:44:24 PM
Jeannied says:
I also own a small business and work very hard. I will hire mechanical contractors from time to time and the only ones who have messed up are the ones with non unionized employees. I will hire local companies with unionized workers any day over ones who hire just anyone off the street.
12/15/2013 3:56:13 PM
watchful says:
Gremlin, you sound like a very OLD and downtrodden person.
Such anger and hate against unions. Who stole your cheerios?? Not all union workers are corrupt and rotten. My husband and many others worked very hard their whole lives supporting their family and all the local businesses and charities in this community. I agree with Knauffer and Jeannied, I will hire a unionized worker to do jobs for us because of their training and skills.
12/17/2013 1:45:55 PM
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