Unifor’s nursing home bargaining meeting brought together its largest group of Ontario health care workers ever, as more than 120 participants met at the Marriott Courtyard in Toronto from February 4-6.
In addition to discussing bargaining priorities, the bargaining meeting provided delegates with an opportunity to strategize against the possible impacts of Doug Ford's health care privatization agenda, continue advocating for minimum hours of care and discuss workplace and sector issues affecting health care workers.
Conference delegates had the opportunity to root these issues in their own experience during workshops on maintaining pay equity in nursing homes; PSW sub-classifications, Plan A, staffing levels, and online staffing survey; using social media as health care activists; and developing a long-term care campaign.
The conference also heard from National President Jerry Dias, Assistant to the President Katha Fortier, Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi, and Health Care Director Andy Savela.
"We have a world-class health care system. The problem is it is not adequately funded to succeed," said guest speaker Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of Ontario Health Coalition. Mehra spoke extensively about Doug Ford's privatization threat to health care, the ongoing crisis in long-term care and the coalition’s plans to take action and lobby Members of Provincial Parliament.
The meeting concluded with remarks by Assistant to the President Katha Fortier. "As we enter this round of bargaining not only must we prepare against the employer but also against the PC's inaction of implementing a minimum standard of care in Ontario," said Fortier.
"Workers in nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the province are overworked and fed up with the employers’ inability to attract and sustain personal support workers. I am confident our bargaining committees will defend our members both at the table and on streets."