HAMILTON/NIAGARA, ON – More than 8,000 front-line staff working at Hamilton and Niagara area hospitals are speaking out about their dissatisfaction with how their hospital employers and Doug Ford’s provincial government are treating them. Rally actions are planned this Thursday, July 22 at hospitals in Hamilton, and St. Catharines.
Staff at Hamilton Health Sciences, St. Joseph’s Healthcare and Niagara Health (St. Catharines site) 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 Thursday’s rallies Hamilton/Niagara 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 In addition to getting Bill 124 repealed, the unions and their bargaining committees are also asking the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) to take several concessions, including language around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.
Hamilton rally Thursday, July 22, 2021, 11 a.m.
General Hospital Campus, Hamilton Health Sciences
237 Barton St. E., Hamilton
St. Catharines rally Thursday, July 22, 2021, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Niagara Health, St. Catharines Site
1200 Fourth Ave, St. Catharines