350 home care workers to be fired in retaliation for strike

    SEIU members and supporters occupy Toronto CCAC office

    TORONTO, April 24 /CNW/ - Home care workers and their supporters occupied
the headquarters of the Toronto Community Access Centre today after learning
that 350 women and men who work for Red Cross were going to lose their jobs
because they exercised their right to bargain for a better contract.
    "These women and men are trying to improve their lives and the quality of
the home care system. No one should lose their job for that," said Louise
Leeworthy an SEIU home care worker. "We've been taking strike action for over
a month and not a single person with essential health needs has gone without
support. Home care workers in Toronto haven't missed a day of work."
    Last night, SEIU was informed by Red Cross management that they would be
firing 350 home care workers in the Toronto-area after the Toronto Community
Care Access Centre (CCAC) declared that they would be switching to other
providers. Camille Orridge, the CEO of Toronto CCAC, claimed that they
decision was a result of Red Cross home care workers decision to take strike
    Members of SEIU Local 1 Canada employed by Red Cross have been in a legal
strike position since March. Rotating one-day strikes have taken place in
communities across Ontario. All clients with essential health needs have
received the same regular care. No strike action has been taken in Toronto.
    Home care workers have chosen to take strike action after years of poor
work conditions. While the government has set a "minimum wage" of $12.50 an
hour - home care workers are only paid for a fraction of the hours in their
work day. Home care providers spend as much as a third of their day travelling
from client to client - time that no home care agency provides real
compensation for. Statistic Canada calculates a "low income cut off" annually.
In 2006, a single mother in Toronto with one child had to earn $21,384 a year
to be above that cut-off. Many home care workers don't earn this much. By
contrast, Camille Orridge, the CEO of the Toronto CCAC, receives over $180,000
in annual compensation.
    "I'm not asking for a six-figure salary," said Leeworthy. "All we want is
to be able to do our job."

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Elliott Anderson, SEIU, (647)

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