CUPE, SEIU and opposition parties call for end to real wage cuts and for a plan to staff-up in health care

NDP leader Andrea Horwath, Liberal Party leader Steven Del Duca, and Green Party leader Mike Schreiner joined SEIU Halthcare president Sharleen Stewart and OCHU-CUPE president Michael Hurley in a media conference today calling on the Ford government to: 

  • Recall the Ontario legislature
  • Repeal Bill 124
  • Begin urgent work on a plan to recruit and retain healthcare staff 

The unions and Ontario opposition parties called on the provincial government to make a number of key changes to keep people working in health care, recruit new staff and keep everyone safe:

  • Increase staffing levels to reduce workloads and create a working environment where time off is possible and work is safer
  • Allow wages to increase in real terms and strongly encourage the creation of full-time jobs with benefits and pensions, as Quebec has done
  • Immediately and aggressively require the provision of proper protection against airborne transmission of COVID-19
  • Take decisive steps to reduce violence in the hospital sector
  • Stop hospitals from using private agencies, which actually compete with them for employees

Directive 5 strengthened re: N95 for hospitals/LTC

The Chief Medical Officer of Health made changes to Directive 5 December 22

Additionally, as an interim precaution in light of the uncertainty around the mechanisms of transmission of the COVID-19 Omicron variant of concern (B.1.1.529), required precautions for all health care workers providing direct care to or interacting with a suspected, probable (i.e. placed in precautions as high risk contact, in an outbreak zone of the facility or recently transferred from a facility in outbreak) or confirmed cases of COVID-19 are a fit-tested, seal-checked N95 respirator (or approved equivalent), eye pro-tection (goggles or face shield), gown and gloves. 

All regulated health professionals and health care workers providing direct care to or interacting with suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19 patients or residents shall have access to appropriate PPE. This will include access to: surgical/procedure masks, fit tested, seal-checked N95 respirators (or approved equivalent), gloves, face shields with side protection (or goggles) and appropriate isolation gowns. 

The public hospital or long-term care home will not deny access to a fit-tested, seal- checked N95 respirator (or approved equivalent).

CUPE Local 786 donates $14,000 to Hamilton charities

CUPE members at Hamilton’s St. Joseph Health Care Centre have donated $14,000 to community groups & charities this holiday season.  

It is the third year CUPE 786, which represents more than 2,200 staff, has made a similar donation. Mission Service, Neighbour to Neighbour, Native Women’s Centre, Essential Aid, City Kidz, Homes for Heroes, and Make a Wish are this year’s recipients.

“We are very proud of the sacrifices and efforts that our members at St. Joe’s have made over the course of the last 21 months working through the pandemic. We are equally proud that they continue to support our Hamilton community in other ways, like these donations to support organizations that help so many more local families, children and individuals in crisis,” says Santo Cimino, CUPE 786 president.

While the COVID pandemic has taken its toll on exhausted hospital workers, many of our neighbours in Hamilton have lost income, their jobs and some their homes during this health crisis, says Cimino. “We are extremely mindful that we have responsibility to give back to others.”