THUNDER BAY – Unifor long-term care members in Thunder Bay held a rally Friday as part of a day of action which featured 20 rallies across the province.
Around 70 residents gathered at Friendship Gardens to show their outrage towards the treatment of long-term care workers.
"They're working double shifts for months on end, they haven't had any vacation time off because they don't want to walk away from their residents and their patients, but that is not sustainable anymore,” said Kari Jefford, Unifor Local 229 president.
“This has been an issue for 20 years, what we're seeing in the pandemic has really shone a light on what's been happening in long-term care, and throughout healthcare over the last so many years."
Attendees were waving red Unifor flags, and marched from the gardens over to Hogarth Riverview Manor, and one thing that the organizers wanted to focus on was Bill 124, which is a bill that has restricted publicly funded public sector workers to a 1 per cent increase in pay.
"We know we can do better, we know that those residents deserve better care and we know that the conditions of work are the conditions of care, they go together. We don't fix one without fixing the other,” said Katha Fortier, Unifor National president assistant.
“The workers who have been through this humanitarian crisis want nothing more. They're only here because of their love, their respect for the people that they care for. But they can only take it so much, the burnout rate is incredible."
Unifor is representing more than 300 thousand workers, and they say they want the government to know that they have had enough.
"Our union has had enough, and we're not going to take it, our union is going to mobilize, our union is going to use the strength that we have across all the sectors that we represent and we're not going to take it anymore,” said Scott Doherty, executive assistant to Unifor National president.
“So Doug Ford and all of these employers need to take the message in the fact that Unifor's not going to stand by and let this happen. We're going to support our healthcare workers across the entire province of Ontario."