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Unifor calls on long-term care employers to recognize front-line workers during this pandemic

April 6, 2020 - 12:00 AM

April 6, 2020

WINDSOR— Unifor calls on all long-term care employers to follow the lead of many essential industries, by providing a premium pay to workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Health care workers continue to take incredible risks for themselves and their families to help protect and care for their residents,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “LTC employers have shown a great reluctance to recognize the contribution of our members, so I applaud employers such as Heron Terrace in Windsor, Ontario that have initiated thank you bonuses for all hours worked during the pandemic. It is moments like these where you see which employers truly recognize the sacrifices made by these amazing COVID-19 heroes.”

At Heron Terrace Long-Term Care facility, there have been two confirmed cases of COVID-19. The employer has offered all health care workers a $3.00 per hour premium on regular hours, reimbursement for cab fares, and lodging should they need it.

“With chronic staffing shortages plaguing the industry for years, employers must do everything in their power to bring back personal support workers who have left the industry to support current care teams,” said Tullio DiPonti, President of Unifor Local 2458. “This is an issue of respect for health care workers, residents and their families. It starts by providing personal protective equipment, adequate childcare supports, providing a premium pay for front-line staff and doing everything in their power to ensure there is enough staff to provide safe care during this crisis.”

For years prior to the pandemic, Unifor has been calling on the Ontario government to address the urgent, crisis-level issues facing Personal Support Workers (PSWs). The union has long advocated for a regulatory minimum of four hours per patient of a standard of care in long-term care homes.

“The on-going crisis in long-term care existed well before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has exposed the fact that a decade of below inflation wage increases and increased workload have exacerbated the shortage of PSW’s," said Dias.

The union calls on all long-term care homes in Ontario to provide personal protective equipment and adequate staff and fair compensation for long-term care workers during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unifor will continue to provide updates as information becomes available at unifor.org/COVID19.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. 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.

Information about the union’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at unifor.org/COVID19.

For media inquiries or to arrange an interview with Jerry Dias via Skype or FaceTime, contact Hamid Osman, Unifor National Communications Representative at 647-448-2823 (cell) or hamid.osman@unifor.org