Three unions negotiating with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) to resolve the ongoing hospital staffing crisis, job safety concerns and pandemic-related mental health supports, today launched a province-wide television advertising blitz to fix the mess and save hospital care in Ontario.
CUPE, SEIU Healthcare, and Unifor, representing 95,000 registered practical nurses, personal support workers, cleaners, administrative and others on the front-lines at hospitals across Ontario, have focused contract negotiations with the OHA on bargaining a better outcome for patients, staff, and care.
Stabilizing patient care and staffing by increasing the number of full-time jobs and to restrict the usage and high cost of agency and gig-work is a priority for the unions. And with an ongoing pandemic, the unions are demanding all hospitals adopt the precautionary principle approach to better protect staff and patients from COVID-19 variants.
Surveys tell us that nearly one-third of registered practical nurses (RPNs) are considering leaving the profession. Poor working conditions are exacerbating the health human resource crisis and as hospitals hemorrhage staff, people will continue to wait longer for critical care.
Violence continues to be out of control within the walls of our hospitals. 86% of hospital staff have experienced verbal harassment, 65% have experienced physical assault, and 25% have experienced sexual assault.
Mental and psychological support is also necessary after two traumatizing years of pandemic work. 93% of staff report mental and physical exhaustion, 91% report higher levels of stress, and 82% report back pain as a result of their hospital work.
CUPE and SEIU Healthcare will continue bargaining jointly with the OHA with mediation dates set in May. Unifor continues to bargain with many hospitals and have solidified bargaining dates with the OHA in June.
Media can follow the campaign with the hashtag #SaveHospitalCare and can also view the two ads, entitled “Patient SOS” and “Bloody Mess.”
“Ontario hospitals must share responsibility for what is a mass exodus of hospital staff. Job vacancies have gone from 3,635 in 2015 to 8,855 in 2019 and to 16,685 in 2021 – an 88% increase since 2019 alone and a 359% increase since 2015. Staff leave because of undoable workloads, unsafe conditions, and low wages. The hospitals have the power to address these concerns, but they have steadfastly refused to do that. It’s time for the hospitals to seriously reconsider how they treat their employees.”
– Michael Hurley, President, CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE)
“We’re fighting to save our hospitals and save our members from unsafe and unfair working conditions. Staff deserve better from the Ontario Hospital Association after two years of a crushing pandemic. Hospital services are at risk and the public need to be aware of what’s at stake. It’s time the OHA agree to a better outcome for the care we all need.” – Sharleen Stewart, President, SEIU Healthcare
“Our hospital members are those that Ontarians turn to when we are most in need of care. t’s time they had a collective agreement that treats them with the respect they deserve and recognizes the vital role they play in hospitals. The OHA must start caring for hospital workers as much as those workers care for Ontarians.” – Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President, Unifor
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-559-9300
Corey Johnson, SEIU Healthcare, email@example.com, 416-529-8909
Hamid Osman, Unifor Communications, Hamid.Osman@unifor.org, 647-448-2823