Sudbury Workers Uphold the Dignity of Labour
Support for Locked-Out Health Care Workers
Picket line at CarePartners in Sudbury
Health care workers employed by CarePartners in Sudbury have been locked out since May 31. Represented by USW Local 2020-Unit 79, the workers were negotiating a collective agreement when CarePartners broke off negotiations and locked them out.
The attack on the Sudbury workers appears connected with current negotiations underway between CarePartners and its 2,600 home care workers employed throughout Ontario who are represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The locked-out Sudbury workers, mostly women, coordinate and schedule home care visits to patients in northeastern Ontario. Their top wage is $16.15 per hour, only slightly more than Ontario’s $14 per hour minimum wage. Their union is demanding wages comparable to others in the same field in the Sudbury area and contract language for joint resolution of harassment complaints filed by the workers against their employer, rather than leaving CarePartners to investigate itself.
The company countered with no wage increase, a cut in the number of paid sick days and changes to the scheduling of weekend work that would negatively affect the workers and their families. It also threatened to eliminate a grand-fathered clause for former Canadian Red Cross employees, which would cut their pensions and health benefits. The workers rejected the offer by over 95 per cent. CarePartners retaliated by locking the workers out.
CarePartners contracts through the provincial Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to provide home care under the public Ontario Health Insurance Plan. Such P3 public-private partnerships are a cash cow for private for-profit heath service corporations like CarePartners. The SEIU and USW note that LHIN pays about $50 per each hour of basic home care. The private entities like CarePartners’ pay home care workers and administration staff between $15 and $19 per hour. The private profiteers then keep $30-$35 per hour for themselves. Private delivery of public health care is a pay-the-rich scheme.
Last month the Ontario Federation of Labour, United Steelworkers (USW) District 6, USW Locals 1005, 1500, and 8702, OPSEU, OSSTF, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, SEIU Local 1 and others organized a rally at CarePartners corporate head office in Kitchener as well as in Sudbury.
One hundred workers rallied on September 5, 2019 at CarePartners’ head office in Kitchener.
To support the health care workers, sign the petition calling on Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott to force CarePartners back to the bargaining table. It can be signed here.
Support the Just Struggle of the Workers at CarePartners Sudbury and Throughout the Province!
Negotiations Yes! Dictate No! Stop Paying the Rich; Increase Funding for Social Programs!
Guarantee the Rights of All to Healthcare and Seniors’ Care!
(Photos: RU, USW 2020)