Ontario hospital workers who the Premier calls heroes are mystified as to why nearly two months after pandemic pay was announced, not a dime has reached their paycheques and why thousands of hospital workers are still excluded from receiving pandemic pay.
Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 17) staff working at hospitals around the province will take part in a collective action under the banner of "It takes a team to care" and urge the Premier and the health minister to include all hospital workers in the pandemic pay. They will also be asking the province to pay up.
The hospital staff participating in the action are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Unifor and SEIU Healthcare. Together the three unions represent 75,000 hospital workers at Ontario’s public hospitals.
Following hospital workers’ protests more than a month ago, more hospital staff have been included in who gets the premium. However, the province has again "wrongly" decided that nearly 20,000 highly skilled front-line hospital staff are not eligible for the premium.
Those still excluded include direct patient contact staff and others who clearly are key members of the care team. They include pharmacy and lab technicians, diagnostic imaging staff, occupational therapy assistants and physiotherapy assistants, as well as multiple administrative staff who keep the patient medical records system going.
The fumbling by the province of what could have been a significant signal of appreciation of the work of hospital workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has deflated morale in the workforce and devalued the contribution of some of the care team in fighting a pandemic. "It is up to the Premier to fix the fiasco," say the unions.
Collective action is not new to the three unions. In the spring of 2018 SEIU Healthcare, Unifor and CUPE joined forces to bargain a new provincial contract for their registered practical nurses, personal support workers,
WHAT: 75,000 hospital staff, pandemic pay ‘It takes a team to care’ workplace action
WHEN: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 (all day)
WHERE: All Ontario hospitals where Unifor, CUPE, SEIU Healthcare hospital sector members work
SEIU Healthcare Communications