Begins: 18 Mar 2022 @ 12:00 Noon
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON
SAULT STE. MARIE, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– Health care workers from the Sault Ste. Marie Group Health Centre will be joined by groups including the Sault Ste. Marie Health Coalition, the Sault Ste. Marie and District Labour Council and the Ontario Nurses’ Association outside the office of MPP Ross Romano on Friday, March 18, calling on the province to repeal Bill 124 and implement changes that will fix the critical staffing crisis in health and long-term care.
Staff retention is a huge challenge in health care across the province. Because our wages are lower than the norm in the health sector broadly, our community clinic has enormous challenges attracting and retaining staff,” said Melinda Genys, president of CUPE 894, representing workers at the Sault Ste. Marie Group Health Centre. “We have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and been rewarded with a three-year wage freeze. Premier Ford calls us “heroes,” well heroes deserve better but we don’t see our local MPP standing in our corner.”
Earlier this year, Genys wrote to area MPP Ross Romano asking for a meeting to discuss the health care staffing crisis. “He didn’t even respond,” she said.
Bill 124 forces a wage cap on many public sector workers that, with inflation, represents a wage cut of more than 4 per cent for workers in health and long-term care at a time when more than 38,000 health care workers were infected with COVID-19.
The law, enacted in 2019 by the Ford government, overwhelmingly affects female-dominated care sectors such as health, child care and social services.
“Staffing shortages aren’t new, but Bill 124 is making things worse. We’re very concerned about the ability of our community clinic and the other care facilities in our city to attract and retain people who are passionate and will provide quality care,” Genys said. “We never even got the $4 per hour pandemic pay that everyone was supposed to get. We don’t even have wage parity with the hospitals, which are having the same problems. Is it any wonder why we don’t feel valued and why so many people are leaving health care?”
WHO: CUPE 894 (Sault Ste. Marie Group Health Centre), Sault Ste. Marie Health Coalition, Sault Ste. Marie and District Labour Council, Ontario Nurses’ Association and others
WHAT: Rally to repeal Bill 124 and fix the health care staffing crisis
WHEN: 12:00 noon, Friday, March 18
WHERE: 390 Bay Street, Sault Ste. Marie
In Ontario, CUPE represents nearly 90,000 health care workers including 230 staff at the Sault Ste. Marie Group Health Centre, including RPNs, clerical staff, support workers, housekeepers, kinesiologists, respiratory therapists, dieticians, physiotherapists, diagnostic imaging staff and social workers.
For more information, please contact:
Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316