Update: PSWs go to interest arbitration ending two week strike December 24

The Service Employees International Union met with an arbitrator last Friday as part of a settlement that ended a two-week province-wide strike of 4,500 personal support workers at Red Cross Care Partners (RCCP).

The strike was being closely watched by an estimated 80,000 personal support workers employed in the province’s home care, long term care and hospital sectors.

SEIU announced a deal had been reached on Christmas Eve to refer the issue to interest arbitration – the first meeting with the arbitrator taking place January 3.

While the RCCP workers have had their wages frozen since 2011, SEIU reports the President of the Red Cross Society took at 9 per cent wage increase in 2012.

The workers rejected an 11 cent per hour increase in November.

In a press release issued December 27, SEIU Healthcare thanked supporters, including union allies.

To watch our video of the strike kick-off, click on the box below.

3 responses to “Update: PSWs go to interest arbitration ending two week strike December 24

  1. The PSW group needs a governance board …checks and balances to monitor the agencies allocated contracts.. Standards set for PSWs to afford them credibility…mandate to provide stability , a fair wage, ongoing upgrading, and appropriate benefits as relates to their function…
    Why does this affluent society disparage tax paying workers looking after the disadvantaged and those stricken with disease ? Talk about making PSWs an essential service requires fundamental change in attitudes presently applied by government and the college of nurses…these same issues have not changed since Mrs Caplan sat with Steve Paikin on TVo years ago! The baby boomers have had the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of healthcare …this will not continue if the healthcare system is fragmented further by reduced resources and poor communication among those delivering care.. Time to make the public aware with more forums,more publicity both print and online and pressure on all levels of government to rethink their position on PSWs..the same workers who have taken on more and more responsibility as nurses have also had to take on more functions..a long time ago Cam Jackson was dismissive saying ..”it’s only vacuum cleaning” …unfortunately his understanding was narrow ..it was not then and it is not now! This 2014 and it is time to make significant changes for the good of our society…speak to the relevant issues ..stand up and make your voices heard…those who are involved with delivery of care. those who receive care…and THOSE WHO CARE!

  2. This from JOHN, one of our readers:I have a letter from the ministry of health it talks of compensation for PSW for mileage the ministry was to fund mileage for us, but change there minds and it comes right from debs office here it is second last paragraph

    Deb Matthews’ constituency office forwarded your concerns to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, regarding Personal Support Worker (PSW) compensation and the PSW Stabilization Strategy. The ministry has provided some information that I would like to share.

    The ministry values the work of PSWs and their contribution to health care in Ontario, and regards PSWs as being instrumental in supporting teams of health care providers in delivering services to those in need.

    With respect to your concerns regarding the rate of pay and compensation for PSWs working in the community, please be aware that my ministry does not set the terms and conditions of employment (i.e., between PSWs and the service provider agency). These issues are the responsibility of the service provider agency.

    Please note that Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) must comply with current legislation (for example, the Employment Standards Act) and ensure that contracts they have with service providers to delivery services also comply. CCACs must ensure that service providers reimburse workers for travel time as set out in the Employment Standards Act. Please note, however, that each agency could have different policies/practices for example, compensation for travel costs that could include mileage, public transit, taxis.

    Regarding the PSW Stabilization Strategy:

    · PSW stabilization funds were to be used to increase the base minimum wage of eligible PSWs (those earning below the new base minimum wage, who are graduates of a recognized PSW program and who are providing services under contract to CCACs) to $12.50 per hour.

    · In addition to base minimum wage increases, funds were to be used for compensation for travel costs (e.g. mileage, public transit, taxis), training, other benefits, and moving toward service volume targets supporting part-time and full-time workers.

    · The ministry does not have a role in providing direction to service provider agencies on their operational issues or their employer-employee relations.

    The ministry thanks you for offering your suggestions regarding employment standards for PSWs. Hearing your ideas is essential in helping the ministry shape a province that reflects the needs and concerns of all Ontarians. As such, I have forwarded your ideas on to the ministry’s Health System Strategy and Policy Division for that program area staff’s consideration.


    C. LeBoutillier

    Correspondence Services

    Ministry of Health

  3. The ministry declares “it does not have a role in providing direction to service provider agencies on their operational issues or their employer/employee relations”. ..and yet the Ministry’s Health System Strategy and Policy Division is being forwarded the concerns echoed by many PSWs..Regards funds allocated to each agency ..who is responsible to make sure that indeed the funds were not misappropriated by agency management? Sounds like language being used by ministry office is to deny responsibility ..that somehow CCAC and the LHIN are the sole gatekeepers….the truth is we elect our representatives in our democratic government ..seems to me the ministry must do a better job to oversee these agencies which receive taxpayers funds to provide front line care to those in long term care,nursing homes,hospices et all..

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