Begins: 19 Nov 2021 @ 11:00 AM
Location: Peterborough, ON
PETERBOROUGH, ON —/COMMUNITYWIRE/— Following repeated attempts to get a meeting with local PC MPP Dave Smith, frustrated St. Joseph at Fleming front-line care staff will be making a special delivery to his constituency office (123 Water St., Peterborough) on Friday, November 19, 2021, at 11 a.m.
For several months staff and administrators from St. Joseph’s at Fleming – the only not-for-profit long-term care home in Peterborough – have been telling the area MPP that a 1% wage cap policy under his government’s Bill 124 legislation is suppressing their wages and benefits and disproportionately hurting their home’s ability to attract and retain workers. Bill 124 gives an unfair advantage to for-profit long-term care providers and municipal nursing homes because it exempts them from the same restrictions. Consequently, for-profit and municipal homes can pay higher wages and attract new staff and retain those already working at the homes.
At a rally mid-September, the St. Joseph’s at Fleming family council members, administration and front-line staff banded together to underscore that due to Bill 124, not-for-profit homes – which have a reputation for better resident care are losing their most skilled workforce and unable to stay competitive in the health sector’s tight labour market.
But Smith hasn’t been very sympathetic to the harm and turmoil the PC wage cap is causing at St. Joseph at Fleming.
“We are deeply disappointed with him and his government for purposely refusing to understand how this unfair wage cap is harming the staff who work at not-for-profit homes like ours and the residents we care for. Because our wages are not competitive with the homes in our area that are exempt from this PC policy we can’t attract enough new workers. As a result, we are dealing with staffing shortages and higher workloads beyond the challenges caused by the pandemic crisis. We are very burnt out trying to provide care to our residents. It’s just hurtful and demoralizing on so many levels,” says Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 2280 president, Jessica Williams.
That’s why this Friday the St. Joseph at Fleming workers are going to where MPP Smith is supposed to be on Friday mornings – his constituency office – to make their point directly at his office doorstep. They will be dropping off a special delivery box containing hundreds of letters of support signed by resident family members, supporters in the community and front-line staff.
“Many in the community support our cause. We are asking MPP Smith to do the same and take our side and ask the Premier to scrap the wage cap Bill that is harming non-profit LTC homes and the front-line staff province-wide, not just in Peterborough,” says Williams.
The PC’s passed Bill 124 in November 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The wage cap Bill is widely criticized for exacerbating the staffing crisis in the long-term care sector The legislation caps public sector workers’ compensation and benefit increases to 1% – far below the rate of inflation, now running at nearly 4% and expected to rise.
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications