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Chatham rally to oppose health care cuts

October 1, 2018

CHATHAM, ON - Health care workers and members of Local 2458 invite the community of Chatham and surrounding areas to a rally to protest cuts to front-line care for seniors in long-term care.

What: Rally for care for residents

When: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Where: 91 Tecumseh Road Chatham, Ontario N7M 1B3

Who: Health care workers, Unifor Local 2458 members and members of the public

Chatham’s Copper Terrace Nursing Home, a for-profit operator, has issued layoffs notices and shift reductions for nurses and personal support workers (PSWs).

In June, Unifor was notified that three full-time Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) would be eliminated, as well as 28 hours of care removed from the service unit, which includes PSWs who provide direct care. The reductions in the nursing unit took effect on September 22 and today for the services staff.

At the same time that the employer is significantly reducing hours, they have also turned to a newly created agency, Plan A for replacement workers.  Plan A is a for-profit operation that strictly provides relief PSWs, RPNs and Registered Nurses (RNs) in nursing homes, and are expanding rapidly across the province.

“For some reason, employers are willing to use the services of Plan A, instead of the front-line care givers who have provided regular care in these homes,” said Tullio DiPonti, President, Unifor Local 2458. “Long-term care employers have always stressed continuity of care, so hiring relief staff from an agency, especially when they have laid off their regular staff makes no sense.”

Plan A attracts nurses and PSWs by offering significantly higher wages than are paid by the industry, as well as preferred scheduling options. The nursing homes also pay a significant premium to the agency. 

“What is really astounding is that nursing homes are prepared to pay agency workers better than they will pay their own employees,” said Mike Kisch, First Vice-President, Unifor Local 2458. “In June, when we were notified of the layoffs, they committed not to use outside workers because this is a clear violation of the collective agreements. Yet they have proceeded to do just the opposite, as we can clearly see these workers being orientated in the workplace.

“Shortages of PSWs have reached crises levels across the province and long-term care employers clearly have no plan to provide real solutions,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President, Unifor. “Instead of introducing another for-profit agency, they should be concentrating on the conditions of care, including adequate staffing levels.

Unifor has advocated for four hours of direct care every day for every resident. Read more here.

For more information, or to arrange interviews in advance of the rally, please contact Asma Farooq, National Communications Representative, Asma.Farooq@unifor.org or (647) 327-9371 (cell)