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Unifor mourns the loss of PSW member due to COVID-19

May 7, 2020 - 12:00 AM

TORONTO – Unifor mourns the loss of Leonard Rodriques a Local 40 PSW member who passed due to a preventable workplace exposure to COVID-19.

“I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Leonard's family, as well as his union sisters and brothers who are working for Access Independent Living Services,” said, Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Leonard worked for more than thirty years providing care for those in need. He’ll be truly be missed by his Unifor family and all those who knew him.”

Rodriquez worked at Access Apartments and was sent home on April 6th, 2020 due to a possible COVID-19 exposure. He was home self-isolating when his symptoms worsened and later tested positive for COVID-19.

“From the onslaught of the pandemic we have been demanding personal protective equipment from employers and governments. This tragedy could have been avoided if he only had access to proper personal protective equipment. Our COVID Heroes deserve better,” said Dias.

Access Apartments has three locations which include supportive housing where Unifor provide care and support in their apartments. There is also an outreach program, where workers provide care in the community.

“I reached out to the Rodriques family and have offered support during this difficult time,” said David Amow, President, Unifor Local 40. “The government failed health care workers in supportive housing, delaying access to personal protective equipment. It shouldn’t take a pandemic or the loss of our member's life for governments to treat personal support workers with the respect they deserve.”

Unifor is gravely concerned for the five other Local 40 members who have tested positive along with three clients at the facility. Unifor is monitoring the outbreak and will be connecting with members in the upcoming days to offer support.

Unifor represents 80 members at Access Independent Living Services. This is the first confirmed death of a Unifor member related to this pandemic.

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

To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype or Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Hamid Osman at hamid.osman@unifor.org or 647-448-2823 (cell).