Red Cross home care workers endorse new contract

    TORONTO, June 3 /CNW/ - Home care workers from across Ontario voted to
ratify a new contract SEIU Local 1 Canada negotiated with Red Cross Canada.
The provider of home care services is now obligated to cover a portion of
workers' travel time between clients.
    "This agreement is a step in the right direction for Red Cross home care
workers," said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Local 1 Canada. "But we
still have to continue our fight to address home care working conditions and
fix Ontario's dysfunctional home care system."
    David Caplan, Ontario Health Minister, was urged to act in the wake of
the agreement and to address widening cracks in a home care system that is
putting vulnerable Canadians at risk.
    The agreement negotiated with Red Cross was endorsed by 66 per cent of
home care workers and effectively ends a month-long work stoppage of rotating
strikes that began on March 20.
    Thousands of home care workers employed by Red Cross from Windsor to
North Bay were previously forced to cover their own expenses when they
travelled from client-to-client. At the end of the day, some workers were left
with less money than minimum wage.
    "A vast majority of employers cover their employee's travel expenses,"
said Cathy Carroll, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU Local 1 Canada. "Red Cross
must do the same for their home care workers."
    Ontario's home care system is far from being fixed. Many home care
agencies still don't cover travel time and expenses for their employees. Many
home care employees work 10-12 hours a day driving from client to client and
are only paid for an 8-hour work day.
    SEIU Local 1 Canada will help fix Ontario's home care system by:

    -   Fighting a broken system of competitive bidding between home care
        agencies that drives down standards and forces agencies to
        drastically cut rates to compete, while they download costs onto
        their staff.
    -   Winning successor rights legislation for all home care workers and
        eliminating "elect to work" status for home care workers. This means
        home care workers will have the same contract regardless of who their
        employer is.
    -   Ensuring home care workers are recognized as health care
        professionals through a provincial registry.
    -   Pressuring the Federal government to develop a national home care

    The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 Canada
represents more than 46,000 health care and community services workers in
Ontario. Local 1 members work in hospitals, home care, nursing and retirement
homes and community services throughout the province.

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