PSW wage increase a good first step but UFCW Locals 175 & 633 calls on the Ford government to make permanent improvements for all healthcare workers
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Oct. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In an announcement made yesterday, Premier Ford detailed a plan to temporarily increase wages for Personal Support Workers (PSWs) working in some healthcare facilities by $3 per hour. But for the rest of the employees in the industry and even PSWs in facilities like retirement homes – it’s not enough.
“While the increase for PSWs is more than welcome, proper funding and support is needed desperately by employees across the entire industry,” said Shawn Haggerty, President of Local 175 of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents more than 5,000 healthcare workers in Ontario. “These increases should be permanent and must apply to all healthcare employees in all facilities.”The announced temporary raise would apply to about 147,000 PSWs in publicly funded long-term care homes, hospitals, group homes, and some home care settings. Eligible employees would receive the increase from October 1, 2020 through to March 2021.But chronic understaffing and underfunding was a major issue long before COVID-19 appeared. The current system cannot meet the needs of employees or patients even in the best of times.“Ford’s announcement is just another patchwork short-term solution to a big problem that has been going on for years,” added Haggerty. “Our Union has long advocated for serious, substantive changes to the industry to ensure healthcare workers have the vital support and resources they need to provide the best level of patient care.”“All workers in healthcare need more support at this time – and so do the people of Ontario,” said Haggerty. “We call on the government to work with stakeholders to implement permanent real changes across the healthcare system, beginning with a permanent increase for all workers.”UFCW Locals 175 & 633 represents more than 70,000 Union Members across Ontario including over 5,000 health care workers in long-term care, retirement home, homecare and congregate care workplaces.