PRESIDENT, SEIU HEALTHCARE
Respect Us. Protect Us. Pay Us.
Over the past 12 months, these are the words we’ve repeated to the Ford government, your employers, and to the public through the media.
Our demands were heard by many and because of our collective work together, thousands of healthcare workers were provided increased supports, including access to pay equity, new benefit plans, and increased retirement security options.
But sadly, there are still far too many refusing to give you the basic necessities you need.
The Ford government continues to offer temporary solutions to permanent problems, such as low wages, short staffing, and health and safety issues. On top of that, they continue to stand behind Bill 124, which limits public sector healthcare workers to below-inflation wage increases of just 1% per year, restricting your bargaining power and mocking your worth.
Employers and their bargaining agents, such as the Ontario Hospital Association, continue to undervalue the work you do and refuse to address the unacceptable issues you face daily, including understaffing, exposure to COVID-19, and workplace violence.
We know you are overworked, understaffed, paid less than you deserve, and burnt out. Your government and employers need to work with us to fix this broken system before it is too late. That day is coming sooner than later.
As we enter 2022 with increased COVID-19 cases, new variants, and ongoing uncertainty, our demands for respect, protection, and pay are more important than ever. The next 12 months are truly critical to the future of healthcare.
In addition to crucial bargaining for tens of thousands of our members in the hospital, long-term care, and home and community care sectors, 2022 will also include our next provincial election, where obtaining the protection and pay you deserve will rely heavily on this province electing a government that respects you.
To get the results we need, both at the bargaining table and Queen’s Park, we need you to be involved and stand side-by-side with us in our battles. When we call on you – whether it is to sign a petition, wear a sticker, mail a postcard, or join us at a rally – we need you to not only step up, but get your colleagues involved as well. There is strength in numbers, and our strength will never be needed more than in 2022.
In my almost 20 years as SEIU Healthcare president, I have never been prouder to be the leader of this union. The strength, determination, dedication, and passion you have shown during this pandemic are what have kept this province going during the darkest of times.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything you continue to do. In 2022 and beyond, I look forward to working with you to create a healthier healthcare system for all of us.