Begins: 18 Mar 2022 @ 11:00 AM
Location: Pickering, ON
PICKERING, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– The Doug Ford government’s mishandling of PSW wage increases and nursing pay issues while suppressing the right to bargain wages will be foremost on the minds of front-line staff protesting at the office of MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy Friday.
There is consensus across health care’s front-line that Bill 124, the Ford government’s wage cap legislation is at the root of the problem. It prevents PSWs, nurses and all other occupations from bargaining the true value of their work, during a time of labour scarcity and as inflation soars. The PCs have opted to give haphazard wage bumps for some, while excluding the majority. “This,” says local RPN Maggie Jewell, CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE) area vice-president, “is fueling demoralization and unhappiness. Many health care workers are leaving their jobs at hospitals and long-term homes, all together.”
On March 18, Jewell will be among those Pickering, Ajax and Oshawa area hospital and long-term care workers rallying and asking MPP Bethlenfalvy “to support health care staff” and scrap the Bill 124 wage cap law.
During a gruelling pandemic, “the Ford government has increased PSW wages by a permanent flat rate, rather than by setting a new floor as Quebec has done, which means PSWs will still leave for better paying work. Nurses get a one time, retention bonus which won’t be pensionable or reflected on the base rates. As a result, the wage difference between some nurses and PSWs is so little it will fuel a nursing exodus. And everyone gets a cut to their real wages as inflation – 6.1% in February – skyrockets and their wages are held to 1%. It is stunning mismanagement,” says OCHU president Michael Hurley.
More than 80% of the health care workforce is female. Jewell says many nurses see Bill 124 as “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 registered practical nurses leave their jobs at hospitals and long-term care homes which are already struggling with staff shortages.”
Over the next week, more protests are planned at PC MPP’s offices across Ontario including in North Bay, Kenora, Stratford, Barrie, and Niagara.
WHO: Pickering Ajax, Oshawa hospital and long-term care workers including registered practical nurses, personal support workers (PSWs), trades, administrative and cleaners.
WHAT: ‘Stand with health care workers’ repeal Bill 124 rally/protest
WHEN: Friday, March 18, 2022, at 11 a.m.
WHERE: Office of MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy -1550 Kingston Road, Pickering
For more information contact:
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications, 416-559-9300, firstname.lastname@example.org