Patients and Staff Protest Delays as Pay of Hospital CEO Jumps 81%

NEWMARKET, ON, April 27 /CNW/ - Staff and patients protested in Newmarket today as it was revealed the pay of the CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre has skyrocketed while proposals to increase patient safety have been stalled and frontline staff have been left without a contract since last year.

The compensation of CEO Dan Carriere has jumped a staggering 81 per cent in five years, with the chief executive pocketing $2.9-million of taxpayer dollars meant for healthcare, according to an analysis by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The analysis found the Newmarket CEO's compensation has climbed to $785,000 after increases of 28 per cent and 16 per cent in the last two years. The CEO's pay included an unexplained bonus of $310,000 in 2009. In contrast, the pattern for frontline hospital staff has been increases of 2 per cent.

"How can you justify an 81% increase in compensation for a CEO when patients and staff are being made to wait?" asked Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Local 1 Canada.

Staff submitted proposals to the Ontario Hospitals Association (OHA) last year to ensure patients see the right nurse at the right time and to create an early warning system so Registered Practical Nurses can raise the alarm when patient safety is at risk.

But the OHA has been stalling, leaving hospital staff in Newmarket and across Ontario without a contract since August 2009, while executives have been pocketing double-digit pay increases.

Protests over CEO excess at the expense of frontline staff have spread across Ontario, with rallies in Belleville and Barrie last week. The provincial government has responded to the public outcry by promising a crackdown on hospital executive pay.

Protesters in Newmarket called for CEO pay to be capped and urged the OHA to reach an agreement with frontline staff.

SEIU members delivered signed postcards to the CEO of Southlake Regional Hospital demanding urgent adoption of the proposals to improve patient safety and fully utilize skilled staff.

Staff and patients across Ontario have already delivered close to 5,000 signed postcards to hospital CEOs with more rallies expected.

SEIU Local 1 represents 46,000 healthcare and community services workers throughout Ontario

SOURCE SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION CANADA

For further information: For further information: Pat Chastang, Media Relations, SEIU Canada, (416) 709-0501

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SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION CANADA

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