HAMILTON, ON, Jan. 20 /CNW/ - Who says labour songs are dead? The
Ontario Public Service Employees Union has produced a music video with
recording artists Teresa Healy and Tom Juravich to highlight the exodus
of Ontario's home care professionals from an unstable work environment.
The song, "What Will You Do When I'm Gone?" was written by Healy and
Juravich for a 2008 rally in Hamilton following news that the Victorian
Order of Nurses and St. Joseph's Home Care were dropped from a
competition to provide visiting nursing services in the city. Both
agencies had close to a century of history in Hamilton.
As a result of the rally, a new moratorium was begun and the Hamilton
Last spring Health Minister Deb Matthews said competitive bidding would
return to home care despite the history of protest in many Ontario
The union has argued that competitive bidding drives costs up and
workers out as contracts change hands and jobs are lost. Patients in
turn lose their long-time care providers, and waits increase as the
sector is increasingly abandoned by health professionals who are
frustrated by the unstable work environment.
"Unlike the sale of a business, when a home care contract changes hands,
workers lose their jobs and are often forced to seek employment with
new provider agencies at reduced wages and benefits," says Warren
(Smokey) Thomas, president of the 130,000-member union. "They also
start again with minimum vacation and no union representation."
The video is being distributed to media outlets this week and on-line.
OPSEU has produced a web site to host the video which includes a "making
of" documentary, background information, a free download of the song,
links to the artists' sites and a form where patients, families and
workers can leave their own stories behind.
The site is located at www.whatwillyoudo.ca. A French version of the site is also available at www.queferezvous.ca.
For further information:
For more information or to set up interviews with the artists, contact Rick Janson at 416-443-8888 ext 8383 or 416-525-3324 (Cell).