Personal Support Workers vote to reject tentative agreement; Red Cross facing province-wide homecare strike

RICHMOND HILL, ON, Dec. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - A tentative agreement between SEIU Healthcare, representing more than 4,500 personal support workers (PSWs), and Red Cross Care Partners, the largest for-profit homecare agency in Ontario, has been rejected in a ratification vote by SEIU Healthcare members.

Sharleen Stewart, SEIU Healthcare president, said the ball is now in the employer's court:

"Our members are sick and tired of being exploited and taken for granted. If Red Cross wants to avoid a strike, they will have to stop paying poverty-level wages to people who put their heart and soul into taking care of vulnerable clients."

Ratification meetings were held across the province during the last two weeks, where details of the tentative agreement were met with disappointment by members. The rejection vote sends a strong a message that members are prepared to strike to back their fight for justice.

Ms. Stewart said the union remains in a legal strike position:

"Nobody wants to strike in this economy, but these workers deserve a living wage and to be treated with respect for the role they play in sustaining our healthcare system."

SEIU Healthcare has reported the results of the ratification vote to the employer and is waiting for a response. Next steps are underway to prepare for a province-wide strike.

About SEIU Healthcare

SEIU Healthcare represents more than 55,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario.  The union's members work in hospitals, home care, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. SEIU Healthcare has a strong track record of improving wages, benefits and working conditions for healthcare workers, supporting the training and development needs of its members, and strengthening standards in the management and delivery of patient and client care. www.seiuhealthcare.ca

SOURCE SEIU Healthcare

For further information:

Gilleen Witkowski 
SEIU Healthcare 
416-805-0305 
g.witkowski@seiuhealthcare.ca