Tag Archives: Victorian Order of Nurses

Frustrated nursing staff quit CarePartners as OPSEU charges unfair labour practices

Photo of hands of health professional assisting an elderly female patient.

Nursing staff are leaving CarePartners in Niagara and Norfolk Counties as the employer thwarts efforts to secure a first collective agreement.
Photo http://www.canstock.com

Continuity of care is important to the delivery of home care. Each time a caregiver changes there is a necessary rebuilding of relationships. If caregivers are continually turning over, it is much more difficult to notice changes in the patient’s medical condition. For example, if a nurse never saw a wound before, how can she or he tell whether it is healing properly? Much of the care work is intimate in nature and subsequently relationships built up over time are important.

In 2003 the not-for-profit Victorian Order of Nurses lost the Community Care Access Centre’s visiting nursing contract in the Niagara region during a year in which the community was celebrating VON’s centenary. We were told over and over that the competitions were about quality, not necessarily price.

In the subsequent contract turnover one of the companies – the for-profit CarePartners – simply could not recruit sufficient experienced staff to successfully take over care from the VON. Instead they shuttled nursing staff from other operations around the province to do what they could to shore up their contract obligations. We heard first-hand patient stories about missed visits, about an inability to contact CarePartners over the weekends, about stressed staff rushing in and out to keep up with an impossible workload.

Of those few nurses who transitioned from VON to CarePartners, in 2005 we were unable to successfully argue in court that this represented a sale of business, and subsequently those workers were unable to retain their rights or union. Many of the VON’s original staff decided to find work elsewhere.

It’s more than 10 years later and the Niagara and Norfolk County staff of CarePartners chose OPSEU to help them seek a first collective agreement with the company. CarePartners is a much larger corporation these days thanks to an initial merger with Red Cross and the subsequent purchase of Red Cross’ home support operations.

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VON Hamilton nurses subject to demeaning cyber-tracking

Nurses at VON Hamilton may be wary of construction detours en route to seeing their home care patients.

The VON branch is taking employee tracking to an extreme by issuing Blackberry devices that will not only record arrival time at each “client’s” home, but also whether they have “deviated from route” on the way there.

The tracking was outlined a September 6 memo from Germaine Lee and Mimi Mitchell, managers at VON Hamilton.

Clearly management at VON Hamilton has too little to do if they intend to spend their days figuring out whether their nurses went directly to the home of the next client or deviated a few blocks to pick up a Tim’s.

It is also shockingly demeaning to professional workers to engage in this level of monitoring when a missed or late appointment is likely to result in a call from the waiting patient anyway.

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