KINGSTON, ON, April 10, 2018 /CNW/ - This Wednesday (April 11), Kingston, Belleville, Napanee, Trenton and other southeastern Ontario hospital staff will join in an unprecedented province-wide workplace action for respect. Along with thousands of other hospital nurses, personal support workers, porters, dietary and administrative and trades staff across Ontario, they will wear a seemingly innocuous symbol of solidarity and protest, a sticker that says, 'Together for Respect'.
It is rare for hospital staff – who, because of the vital work they do, have less workplace rights than other Ontario workers – to visibly protest in this way. Legal information about their right to wear a sticker in the workplace that "makes a quiet statement" for a collective agreement has been provided to 75,000 hospital sector members by three of Ontario's largest unions, that are behind the solidarity action on Wednesday.
At the end of March, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), SEIU Healthcare and Unifor formed an alliance – the first of its kind – to work together and mount an escalating campaign of mobilization to push Ontario hospitals to return to bargaining and treat their staff with respect. In this round of provincial bargaining with the three unions, hospitals have asked for significant concessions, refused to address the growing issue of workplace violence and offered wages below the prevailing norm.
The April 11 solidarity action is the first of several mobilizing events planned for the coming weeks. On April 18, rallies will be held at hospitals across the province to demonstrate workers' solidarity securing a fair contract. Television and radio advertising that highlights hospital workers' commitment to patients and greater recognition for the contribution they make to quality patient care began airing on April 9.