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Council backs SEIU personal support workers strike in Ontario

The Toronto Star reports, “Red Cross Care Partners is a for-profit company and is the largest home-care agency in Ontario. …The province is increasingly relying on these home-care workers to help keep ailing seniors out of hospitals and long-term-care homes by assisting with such task as bathing, dressing, taking medication and preparing meals. …The employees of Red Cross Care Partners, including 800 from the Greater Toronto Area, went on strike Wednesday.”

PSW strike

“Exploitation, low wages and minimal payment for travel time are the reasons 4,500 personal support workers are giving for hitting the picket line. The striking PSWs, most of whom are women, make about $15 an hour and have not had a wage increase in more than five years, said Sharleen Stewart, president of Service Employees International Union Healthcare, which represents the workers.That’s tantamount to a 7 per cent pay cut over the last two years when inflation and the rising cost of gas is taken into account, she said. The workers recently rejected a tentative deal which would have given them an 11 cent an hour wage increase, Stewart said.”

“About 300 striking workers and supporters protested outside Queen’s Park where NDP health critic France Gelinas decried Ontario’s ‘broken’ home-care system.” Yesterday, Toronto-based Council of Canadians organizing assistant Michael Butler wrote in his blog, “Council of Canadians staff, along with chapter members from Guelph, attended a rally at Queen’s Park to support Personal Support Workers who have launched a province wide strike and walked off the job today.”

Further reading
SEIU Healthcare Union