For Us, Accountability Begins at Home
Support Seniors’ Home Care Workers
in Picton, Ontario!
Workers at Hallowell House in Picton, Ontario, owned by the notorious private provider Revera, are denouncing the company’s proposal to lay off Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) at the home. The week of August 23 workers organized information pickets to inform the community about what is going on.
Revera’s excuse is that it has too many workers because it now has fewer “clients.”
In response to the large number of infections and deaths in long-term care homes, the province of Ontario enacted measures to reduce occupancy in shared rooms from four to two residents in order to allow greater protection from COVID-19. This has resulted in a decrease in the total number of residents in some homes, including Hallowell House. According to Revera, this means fewer staff are needed.
At the information picket, President of Unifor Local 8300 Kathleen Brooks said that schedule changes proposed by the company would result in cutting seven full-time PSWs and two full-time RPNs from the 60-member staff, an action she called “outrageous and unacceptable” in the middle of a pandemic, at the start of the fourth wave. She said that such a cut would have a tremendous impact on the level of care for residents and would result in the home operating with a “skeleton crew.”
Currently the workers are constantly working short-staffed. She gave the example of being nine workers short on August 24 due to workers being off as a result of exhaustion and illness.
Workers at Hallowell House and other long-term care homes have been working in extreme conditions during the pandemic and all of them, from nursing staff to housekeeping and maintenance, are exhausted. More, not fewer, workers are needed. Hallowell House itself has recently been advertising for PSWs and RPNs online and with signs on the lawn. What could possibly justify layoffs in these conditions?
In an August 16 Unifor press release, Brooks said “The workers are fighting for residents and for themselves. The public and the families need to know these job cuts will mean less care for residents than they currently have. This is not the time for Revera to remove trained staff.”