In a powerful act of solidarity, Unifor, CUPE, and SEIU healthcare workers rallied at the Toronto Sheraton Centre, demanding the Ontario Hospital Association invest more in hospital staffing and fair wages to improve patient care and worker support.
"Today's rally goes beyond a call to action it's a stark reminder of the critical crossroads facing our health care system,” said Samia Hashi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director, at the February 6 rally. “We stand here united, to amplify the urgent need for the Ford government to acknowledge the vital contributions of our health care workers by providing them with the necessary resources and support to provide the care that Ontarians rightfully deserve."
The three unions are advocating for wage increases that exceed inflation, equitable benefits, and enhanced premiums for challenging shifts. However, the negotiations have reached an impasse as the Ontario Hospital Association insists on concessions that would undermine job security and reduce patient care. Despite direct negotiations extending over weeks, economic proposals from CUPE and SEIU have been met with a disconcerting silence. The refusal to negotiate a fair wage increase in line with the cost of living, or to address workloads, highlights the growing concern within the sector.
"Our fight for better staffing and patient care today is a fight for the future of health care in Ontario,” said Kelly-Anne Orr, Assistant to the National Officers, as she spoke at the rally. “Ontarians envision a system where quality care is the standard, not the exception, driven by fair compensation and respect for those on the frontlines."
Unifor is diligently negotiating both local issues at participating hospitals and preparing for central negotiations slated for February 13th. The union will also support CUPE during the pivotal mediation days on February 6 and 7, and SEIU's subsequent sessions on February 10 and 11.
The rally was a collective show of force, featuring a diverse lineup of speakers from all opposition parties, various labor unions, and representatives from the Ontario Health Coalition. The February 6 rally marks the beginning of a series of actions as the union continues to strive for a settlement that honours and respects our members.
For photos from the rally click here.