Personal support workers prepare to strike

SEIU Healthcare and Red Cross Care Partners fail to reach agreement

SEIU Healthcare recently informed the Ontario Ministry of Labour its members are preparing for a province-wide strike involving 4,500 personal support workers.

The union represents more than 55,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. In a video statement SEIU Healthcare’s president Sharleen Stewart said, “We do not take this action lightly, but we have been left with no choice.”

Bargaining between the union and Red Cross Care Partners (RCCP) has failed to produce an agreement and in a statement Stewart said the homecare agency will spend half its provincial funding — about $72 million — on company profits and “extremely generous” executive salaries. SEIU Healthcare reported its members pay out-of-pocket for gas mileage to visit their clients.

In a press release the union said the average wage of its members working at RCCP is $15 per hour. The agency reportedly proposed an extended five-year wage freeze during bargaining with no change in working conditions for personal support workers.

In late October the union launched a campaign in an attempt to put pressure on RCCP during bargaining.

“Our 4,500 members are sick and tired of being taken for granted,” Stewart said in a statement. “These workers are the heart of our healthcare system, providing quality care for seniors at home and getting poverty-level wages in return.”

Latest stories