Strike may be only option for Timmins area Home Care workers

    TORONTO, July 15 /CNW/ - After contract bargaining between members of the
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 Canada and the Red Cross
have broken down after weeks of negotiation, Timmins Home Care workers cast
their votes yesterday on whether to strike.
    "At this point the Red Cross has no intention of giving a fair contract,"
says SEIU's Chief Negotiator, Cathy Carroll.
    "The employer is offering insufficient compensation for the value of
work, skill and contribution that Home Care workers provide their clients and
the Ontario health care system. The Red Cross's proposal - from an
organization viewed by the public as flag bearer of compassion - not only
denies their home care workers a fair wage, it denies them the kind of dignity
that you think the Red Cross would be the champion of."
    Despite the assistance of a conciliation officer from the Ministry of
Labour, the SEIU home care negotiating team was forced to reject the Red
Cross's latest proposal, citing the employer's unwillingness to address
compensation for travel time, offer sufficient improvement on mileage
allowance, sick leave provisions, benefits, or provide a vacation equivalent
to allow Home Care providers to catch up with other health care workers.
    "The employer claims that travel time, our Home Care members' highest
priority, is a nonstarter," Carroll says. "How can you deny a Home Care
worker's claim for travel compensation when so many Home Care workers spend
hours travelling from one client to another in a single day?
    As a result of the breakdown in negotiations, strike votes are scheduled
across the province from Jun. 13 to Jul. 25. Bargaining is scheduled to resume
Jul 30 and 31.
    SEIU Home Care workers expect to return with a strong mandate to strike
if required.

    SEIU Local 1 Canada represents 46,000 health care workers in hospitals,
long term care, nursing and seniors' homes, and community services in Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Cathy Carroll, SEIU Local 1 Canada, Bargaining
Team - (416) 529-1488; Barry Smith, SEIU Local 1 Canada, Communications -
(416) 528-9116

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