“We were there for patients in the pandemic,” say Kenora, Fort Frances, Sioux Lookout, Blind River, Chapleau, Red Lake hospital workers mobilizing to fight wage cuts and concessions.
Front-line hospital staff working at northwestern Ontario hospitals are speaking out about their dissatisfaction with how their hospital employers and Doug Ford’s provincial government are treating them. Mobilizing actions are planned in Kenora, Blind River, Fort Frances, Chapleau, Sioux Lookout and Red Lake next week, Monday, July 26, Tuesday, July 27, Wednesday, July 28 and Thursday, July 29.
Staff at Kenora’s Lake of the Woods Hospital, Fort Frances’ Riverside Health Care and the hospitals in Sioux Lookout and Blind River, are among nearly 70,000 hospital workers across Ontario currently negotiating a new provincial contract. But after working the past 18 months at a hectic pace in a pandemic, these workers feel devalued by both the province and their hospital employers.
They deserve a fair contract say their unions, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and SEIU Healthcare but, they are instead, being “rewarded” by a wage cut under a provincial policy (Bill 124) that restricts them to a wage increase less than 1/3 of the rate of inflation. Bill 124 also impacts hospital workers’ ability to negotiate much-needed increases to mental health supports like psychotherapy and post-traumatic stress counselling.
At next week’s northwest Ontario rally actions, hospital workers are asking for respect and better pandemic protections – safety measures, which will also benefit patients. In addition to getting Bill 124 repealed, the unions and their bargaining committees are also asking the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) to take several concessions, including language around seniority and retirement packages, off the table. These rallies are the first of many across the province scheduled through the end of August.
SEIU Healthcare and CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) began bargaining with the OHA last month and will return to the table in early September.
CUPE hospital workers’ northwest Ontario mobilizing actions/rallies are as follows:
Monday, July 26, 2021 – 11:30 a.m. (Central Daylight Time)
Lake of the Woods Hospital staff will hold their event at 21 Sylvan St. West at Kenora By The Bridge
Former CUPE National President Paul Moist is the guest speaker at the event
Monday, July 26, 2021 – 11 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)
North Shore Hospital, 525 Causley St., Blind River
Tuesday, July 27, 2021 – 11 a.m. (Central Daylight Time)
Riverside Health Care, 110 Victoria Ave, Fort Frances
Tuesday, July 27, 2021 – 11 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)
Services de santé de Chapleau Health Services, 6 Broomhead Rd, Chapleau
Wednesday, July 28, 2021 – 11 a.m. (Central Daylight Time)
Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, 1 Meno Ya Win Way, Sioux Lookout
Thursday, July 29, 2021 – 11 a.m. (Central Daylight Time)
Red Lake Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital, 51 ON-105, Red Lake