TORONTO, Dec. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU
Healthcare, has given notice to Red Cross Care Partners that Personal
Support Workers across Ontario will walk off the job tomorrow, December
The workers have been in a legal strike position for several weeks and
recently voted to reject a tentative agreement with the largest
homecare agency in Ontario, a for-profit company. They have been
working without a contract since April.
"These workers are tired of being pushed around and taken for granted,"
said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare. "They are paid
poverty-level wages of $15 an hour and are expected to pay for gas out
of pocket when they drive long distances to make home visits."
In the last two years PSW earnings have been reduced by about 7% as a
result of a wage freeze combined with inflation and a massive increase
in the price of gas.
Ms. Stewart said the government of Ontario has been warned that its
homecare system is falling apart as agencies misuse public funds and
exploit the workforce.
"We estimate 50 cents of every dollar given to Red Cross ($143 million
this year) is skimmed off for bureaucracy, excessive executive pay and
profit. Where is the accountability in this system for delivering
quality care to seniors and vulnerable clients?"
Last year the CEO of the Red Cross Society was given a 9% pay increase,
bringing his salary to $297 thousand, which is 11 times the average
salary of a PSW.
About 4,500 PSWs will be on strike. "We take this action with a heavy
heart," said Ms. Stewart. "Nobody wants to be on strike in this economy
and at this time of year, but the fight for justice doesn't always fit
into a neat calendar. Our members are determined to take a stand."
Day one of the strike, Wednesday, will include a noon rally at Queens
Park of PSWs from the Toronto area who will gather at City Hall and
walk up University Ave. to the legislature.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org