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Unifor makes headway for long-term care workers

TORONTO, April 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Unifor health care members employed in long-term care facilities across Ontario are ratifying strong agreements this month that include increases in wages and benefits.

"Unifor is committed to protecting our health care system in Canada and the first, and most important step in that is protecting the workers themselves," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "With these agreements, we are fighting back against the expectation that these profitable, multi-national long-term care facilities should continue to reward their senior executives and shareholders handsomely while imposing austerity measures on the workers. It's just not right."

Collective agreements have been ratified for some 5,600 health care workers in the province so far; one for workers at Extendicare homes, another agreement for workers at Revera homes, and one for a group of 22 independent long-term care facilities. This pattern of settlement will eventually result in new agreements for approximately 17,000 health care workers across Ontario.

"I am proud of the agreements we have been able to achieve and the progress we have made for our members," said Katha Fortier, Ontario Regional Director. "These negotiated settlements were made possible by the hard work and dedication of the Unifor bargaining committee members from across Ontario."

In a sector where many unions rely on arbitration to settle every agreement, Unifor stands out in consistently achieving results through bargaining.

"Bargaining in the health care sector is some of the toughest negotiations our union faces," said Deb Tveit, Assistant to the President. "To reach bargained settlements and have them ratified by such a large percentage of the membership proves a job well done by all of those involved."

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including 26,000 health care workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.