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‘Working as a team’: Union holds rallies at long term care homes to show support
HAGERSVILLE -- Workers at some hard-hit, long term care homes in Ontario were able to watch a big sign of support on Saturday.
The SEIU healthcare union organized rallies at numerous facilities, including Anson Place.
A fleet of decorated vehicles rolled along the Hagersville home and honked their horns to show their support.
“I’m in the community and we’re just hoping that we’re told about the different people that are out there that we’re going to come in to contact with,” said Elaine Doe, a PSW with Care Partners and participant of the Anson Place rally.
Many of the supports in the union and the rally are frontline workers.
“We’re just working as a team,” said Lisa Pattison, a dietary aide for Grace Villa Nursing Home. “We have lost a lot of staff now that you can only work from one nursing home, but a lot of people are working a lot of overtime.”
The SEIU union filed a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board earlier this week against Anson Place and two other long term care homes in Toronto asking for more support for their members.
“There’s a lack of management oversight,” said Derek Gwynn, a union representative. “There’s difficulty in getting PPE they feel they need and there’s a sense of betrayal on some of the workers part that management didn’t tell them what was going on until it was too late.”
The board reached a decision Friday with a number of orders in favour of the union. These include weekly inspections by the Ministry of Health and ensuring appropriate staffing levels.
“I’m glad they’re going to be inspecting them once a week, but quite frankly they should have been doing that for the past 10 years,” said Gwynn.
In a statement, an operating partner of Rykka Care Centres – which operates Anson Place – says they “are pleased to have reach an agreement with SEIU” and “welcomed the opportunity” to formalize protections.
Frontline workers say that more can still be done, even with the announcement from the province Saturday regarding extra payment.
“This’ll take some of the pressure off of them,” said Gwynn. “The big downside thought is its only for 16 weeks.”
The SEIU says permanent changes are what is really needed.