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Schlegel long-term care workers plan job action after talks break down

Group speaks to media outside The Village LTC home
February 10, 2020 - 12:00 AM

February 10, 2020

WINDSOR–Unifor Local 2458 members at Schlegel long-term care facilities are planning job action following the breakdown of collective bargaining negotiations two weeks ago.

“The success of these negotiations must be the dignified care of long-term care residents through proper respect paid to the workers who provide them hands-on care each and every day – anything less than that is unacceptable,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Ontario’s long-term care system needs an overhaul and that won’t happen so long as Doug Ford can pretend everything is fine. I again challenge Ford to spend a day in a nursing home to see just how overworked people are and to motivate him to respond to this urgent crisis in care.”

Unifor submitted a report to the provincial government in December 2019 titled Caring in Crisis: Ontario’s Long-Term Care PSW Shortage that details the systemic shortage of Personal Support Workers (PSWs) across Ontario.

“Members are deeply disappointed a tentative agreement wasn’t reached and are extremely frustrated by the working conditions that fail to attract new PSWs, so working short is an everyday event,” said Tullio DiPonti, Local 2458 President. “The members have had enough and are prepared to take workplace actions to show both the employer and Premier Ford that the current system is at a breaking point and things have to change.”

Even among long-term care facilities, all under strain by inadequate government funding, Schlegel facilities come up short in terms of worker compensation.

“Unifor bargains with several other long-term care facilities and it’s shameful that Schlegel continues to pay below industry standard – a standard that is already too low to promote recruitment and retention of PSWs and that puts residents’ health at risk,” said Chris Taylor, Unifor National Representative. “Members want to reassure residents and their families that job action will be done with utmost safety and care for their wellbeing and with the ultimate goal to deliver the care each resident deserves.”

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, including more than 25,000 health care workers. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews, please contact Unifor National Communications Representative Hamid Osman at hamid.osman@unifor.org or 647.448.2823.