TORONTO, Sept. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - After years of calling for caps to
outrageous hospital CEO pay, Service Employees International Union
(SEIU) Local 1 Canada commends the Government of Ontario for standing
up for front-line healthcare workers.
Yesterday, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan proposed legislation
to cap the pay of public-sector executives. The measure would affect
such employees as hospital, university and electricity utility chief
executive officers, many of whom make more than $1 million a year.
Duncan said Thursday the minority Liberal government will limit public
sector executives to twice the premier's $208,974 salary — or $418,000
annually — and scrap bonuses for two years. There were about 150
executives in the civil service and broader public sector who made more
than $418,000 last year, mainly in hospital administration.
"Frontline healthcare workers welcome the move to cap runaway CEO pay,"
said Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Local 1 Canada, which
represents more than 50,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario and
is the fastest growing labour organization in North America. "It is
vital that these savings from capping executive pay and bonuses be
invested in quality healthcare, and in providing relief for
overstretched frontline staff."
For more than two years, SEIU Local 1 Canada has been pressuring the
Ontario government to put an end to soaring hospital CEO salaries and
bonuses in the face of vocal opposition from the Ontario Hospital
Association (OHA), hospital boards, and hospital executives
themselves. SEIU had been calling on Ontario to follow the example of
other provinces by stepping in to directly set compensation for
executives at publicly-funded hospitals, starting with a salary cap.
"This is a tremendous victory for the workers our union represents, and
for the quality of our healthcare system," said Stewart. "We're
pleased that the McGuinty government has finally heeded our calls to
bring some accountability to public spending on healthcare bosses.
It's unconscionable to target front-line healthcare workers while
allowing double-digit increases in the pay of executives and managers
who pocket 40 times what the average caregiver takes home."
Stewart said that instead of unfairly placing much of the burden of
reducing the deficit on front-line staff like paramedics and registered
practical nurses, the savings realized from capping hospital executive
and senior management salaries should be invested in preventive
initiatives like mother and baby programs and community-based care, and
in supporting front-line workers caring for people.
She says she remains deeply concerned that Premier McGuinty plans to
target other front-line staff like paramedics and firefighters, going
beyond Ontario's elementary and secondary public school teachers, by
imposing contracts through legislation.
"Not only does such legislation undermine the constitutionally-protected
right to free association and the democratic process of collective
bargaining, it unfairly puts the onus on front-line workers to bear the
professional and personal costs of an economic crisis they did not
cause," Stewart said. "Now that he's reigning in spending on hospital
executive pay, the Premier should get serious about targeting
corporations to pay their fair share to help reduce the deficit."
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 Canada
represents more than 50,000 healthcare and community services workers
in Ontario. SEIU members work in hospitals, home care, nursing and
retirement homes and community services throughout the province. SEIU
Local 1 Canada has a strong track record of improving wages, benefits
and working conditions for healthcare workers, as well as strengthening
standards in patient and client care.
SOURCE: Service Employees International Union Local 1 Canada
For further information:
SEIU Local 1 Canada
125 Mural Street
Richmond Hill, Ontario