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Tbnewswatch Local News
Saturday May 23 2015
3:16 AM EDT
2014-01-17 at 15:59

‘A lot of injuries’

Unifor members rally outside of St. Joseph
Jamie Smith,
Unifor members rally outside of St. Joseph's Friday afternoon.
By Jamie Smith,

Health-care workers want the public to know about some of the workplace hazards they face, including daily assaults.

According to Unifor, the union that represents about 500 workers at St. Joseph's Care Group, funding levels have led to staff shortages, unsafe work conditions and daily verbal and physical attacks by patients and their families, frustrated by the lack of care being given.

"A lot of injuries, a lot of fatigue and a lot of disappointment in the fact that our members can't always give the care that they feel our patients deserve," Unifor Local 229 president Kari Jefford said during an information rally outside of St. Joseph's Hospital Friday afternoon.

"We see assaults on a daily basis, physical and verbal, from patients and families who are frustrated."

Workers are also upset that in the last round of negotiations they were given a zero per cent wage increase while management raises continue, Jefford said.

"That's a total slap in the face to our workers out there on the front line," she said. "Zero meant zero for everybody, not just our workers."

President and CEO Tracy Buckler said staff and patient safety is taken very seriously at the care group's eight sites. Numbers show that there haven't been an increase in incidents over the past two years.

"We're not seeing a huge huge increase but we're paying attention. Any incident is serious and anytime staff gets injured we want to make sure that doesn't get repeated," she said.
As for wages, those were legislated through the province, including executive compensation.

"Our corporation complies with the act and the legislation," Buckler said.

As for the union's concerns, Buckler said the organization has regular labour management meetings with workers and managers.

"We will do what we need to do to work side by side in collaboration with Unifor," she said.

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DustInTheWind says:
Some folks should mosey on over to the City of Thunder Bay website and check out the advertised wages before assuming that health care workers are making in excess of $40.00/hour. And they do start at the bottom of the scale at casual or part-time with no paid sick days or benefits. We live in a part-time society people. Don't you get that!
1/21/2014 10:50:29 AM
DustInTheWind says:
@ bttnk. I hate to burst your bubble of misconception but your assumption that front line nursing staff are being paid $40.00/hour for their services is false. I am sorry to have to inform you that. Try more than half of that. It is the nurse (usually 1) that passes the pills and it is the PSW's that provide the care. Bus drivers make more money so I will be curious to know the outcome of their new contract. You should really know a little about something before you begin to comment on it. Thank you in advance.
1/21/2014 8:37:20 AM
Anonymous1978 says:
Actually bttnk, we work in a hospital. Sick people are hosted in a hospital therefore exposing nurses to illness. And also, if you had your facts straight, RPN's do not make in the excess of $40/hour, they do not even make in the excess of $30/hour. Oh and FYI Part Time and Casual workers do NOT get "plenty of paid sick time", they get zero paid sick time.
1/21/2014 12:14:42 AM
bttnk says:
I wonder if Kerri Jefford would be so kind as to discuss why her members average over 15 sick days annually? We get it, the job isn't easy, but nurses are paid well for it. Often in excess of $40/hour and they take plenty of paid sick time.
1/20/2014 11:58:09 AM
DustInTheWind says:
Thank you W5 for trying to expose it. W5's elder care can be seen by you. Check it out for yourself and then you decide. Some say they are overpaid workers. Prevention equals cost.
1/20/2014 2:09:32 AM
DustInTheWind says:
Oh...if you only knew what was really going on. You'd be shocked.
1/20/2014 2:05:37 AM
sickandtired says:
St. Joe's Leadership, Management and Board always care more about how things look than how they really are! They want everyone to think it's a great place to work but it's FAR from it!
1/18/2014 2:52:02 PM
CareforMomandDad says:
"Our corporation complies with the act and the legislation," Buckler said.

At one time, the government legislation wouldn't allow women to vote. Saying you are just 'meeting a government standard' is a cop out.

Exceed it--for the care of everyone's mother and father.
1/18/2014 11:43:03 AM
DustInTheWind says:
What the public never hears about because it is easier not knowing the truth.
1/18/2014 11:01:19 AM
bushboy says:
management is well taken care of, check the numbers for the president/ceo from 2004 and 2005, and you will see, pension is based on your last few years salaries.
1/18/2014 10:00:54 AM
pc says:
This has been going on for years. 37 years ago I was hit by a patient and dropped her as I was helping her to a wheel chair. I went down with her. I was grilled by managers as to why I dropped her. I was off on Comp. for 6 weeks and told not to lift anything over 10lbs. I had an 11lb baby at home to look after. That was it. I got written up and a bad back which I still have problems with today.
Time for workers to get better working conditions and the managers to get one heck of a lot less.
If this doesn't happen there will be no one competent going into health care.
1/18/2014 6:14:05 AM
spoiled says:
I am a family member of a client there. I assure you these nurses work hard. I watch them run all day long, with very little down time. They are like jack of all trades nurses, doing most work that we would expect from others. I have seen them spit at and swore at and swung at. I am very appalled that they did not get anything yet management did. It truly is another slap in the face for them. I am very sorry girls, as I think you deserve the best as that is what you give my father. THE Best! I can't thank you enough.
1/18/2014 1:10:40 AM
whatelseisnew says:
Well this is typical! The workers are being spit on both literally and metaphorically by the patients and the management. These care givers at times are putting their work ahead of their own families (missing Christmas, birthdays and even anniversaries) and for what? Its not for the pay I can assure you, its because the facility is that short staffed and workers most time have a hard time saying no to the hours because the patients and co-workers suffer with the overload of work.
Some of these workers should be considered priceless by management and to them they are nothing more but greedy in their eyes only wanting more more more. It's time these so called managers get wage freezes and roll-backs because they are no longer earning their salaries doing the small amount they do in a 8 hour day, all they really do is figure out new ways to take from their employees to stuff their own pockets! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
1/17/2014 10:33:28 PM
tbayer10 says:
I'm confused by Miss Buckler's comments. The legislation was Zero's across the province. How is management taking raises complying with legislation?
1/17/2014 7:06:30 PM
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