Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

December 12, 2007 11:46 ET

OPSEU-Hamilton VON Staff Get Lump of Coal for Holidays: Layoffs to Take Place in April

HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 12, 2007) - After 107 years of service to the community, the Victorian Order of Nurses were told Tuesday they were disqualified from the tendering process that will decide home care nursing services in the Hamilton region. No reasons were given.

About 100 VON nursing and administrative staff will be without a job next April, many after lengthy careers delivering home care to patients in the Hamilton region. VON Hamilton recently was given the Hamilton Spectator Gold Reader's Choice Award in the home healthcare category.

VON is the second agency to find out its services were no longer wanted this week. On Monday St. Joseph's Home Care was told they were similarly disqualified. Together the two largest not-for-profit agencies in the region provide about 80 per cent of home nursing care in the region.

"Health minister George Smitherman has delivered a lump of coal into the stocking of almost every home care nurse and patient in the Hamilton area," says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) which represents the VON workers.

Hamilton home care patients will likely experience disruption to their care during the changeover. In Niagara, where the VON lost the home care contract in 2004, winning agencies struggled to hire enough staff, leaving many patients in a precarious position.

The agencies are among the first in the province to lose home care work as the three-year moratorium on competitive bidding was lifted this fall.

VON workers were told the news at a meeting Wednesday morning.

The province declared a moratorium on competitive bidding in 2004 after several high-profile battles were waged across the province to save community-supported not-for-profit agencies. VON, Red Cross, and St. Elizabeth Nurses (SEN) had all been denied local contracts to continue home care services in regions throughout the province.

"George Smitherman may think he can slide this under the radar during the holiday season, but it won't go without a challenge," said Thomas. "OPSEU is committed to ending this destructive and costly method of delivering home care services."

Contact Information

    Rick Janson
    (516) 525-3324 (Cell)