Begins: 14 Mar 2022 @ 2:00 PM
Location: Brockville, ON
BROCKVILLE, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– Recently Brockville MPP Steve Clark said we “can’t go back to politics where the answer to everything is NO.” On March 14 area hospital and long-term care workers will be out front of Clark’s Brockville office putting the MPP’s comments to the test.
At the rally Monday, protesting Clark’s PC government’s 1% wage cap that with rising inflation hits the province’s “pandemic heroines” with a 4% real wage cut in 2021 and more than a 4% cut again in 2022, area health care workers will ask him to say YES to repealing Bill 124 and ‘stand with them, not against them’.
While front-line hospital and long-term care workers were overwhelmed caring for Ontario’s sick over two years of difficult COVID-19 pandemic work, PC MPP’s like Clark have defended their government’s wage cap, which was introduced late 2019, pre-pandemic.
“The Ford government’s wage cap devalues and disrespects a largely female workforce that has made huge personal sacrifices. It cuts our real wages and leaves us with no ability to bargain badly needed mental supports after the trauma of caring for patients and residents through the pandemic. We think most Ontarians are on the side of health care workers. We are asking ‘MPP Clark to stand with us in calling for this bill to be repealed” says Dave Verch, a registered practical nurse (RPN) and Eastern Ontario Vice-president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE).
Since March 1, 1,600 health care workers have contracted COVID-19 at work, one of the highest rates of infection during the pandemic. CUPE believes this would not be happening if health care workers were adequately protected and is bargaining along with SEIU Healthcare for increased access to N95 masks.
CUPE in Ontario represents nearly 90,000 health care workers. 90% of RPNs and personal support workers (PSWs) working in the health system are women. 65% of the people who clean and disinfect our hospitals and 75% of respiratory therapists are women. Almost all the ward clerks and other administrative workers are female.
“At the root of it, Bill 124 is sexist and discriminatory legislation. It doesn’t cover any other emergency personnel, like paramedics, police, and fire – which tend to be male dominated. It must go or many more nurses, PSWs and other staff will leave their jobs at hospitals and long-term care homes which are already struggling with staff shortages,” says Verch.
Monday’s Brockville rally is among the first in a series of health care worker protests planned at PC MPP’s offices over the next few weeks across Ontario, including Ottawa, North Bay, Pickering, Brampton, Milton, Mississauga, Burlington, Peterborough, Kenora, Stratford, Port Hope, Newmarket, Barrie, and Niagara.
WHO: Brockville/eastern Ontario hospital and long-term care workers including registered practical nurses, personal support workers (PSWs), trades, administrative and cleaners.
WHAT: ‘Stand with health care workers’ rally/protest
WHERE: MPP Steve Clark’s Constituency Office – 100 Strowger Blvd., Brockville
WHEN: Monday, March 14, 2022, at 2 p.m.
For more information contact:
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications, 416-559-9300, firstname.lastname@example.org