SEIU Canada (Service Employees International Union - Canada)

SEIU Canada (Service Employees International Union - Canada)

February 18, 2009 12:27 ET

SEIU Leadership Prepares for Strike Action With Red Cross

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 18, 2009) - Canadian leadership of the Service Employees International Union has approved a plan of strike support in the event that Red Cross personal support workers are forced to take job action.

Last summer, Red Cross home care workers voted 88 per cent in favour of strike action. The Red Cross is the largest provider of personal support home care services in Ontario with 3.3 million hours; 40,000 clients per year; and 3,000 support workers located throughout 13 of the 14 LHINs. Approximately 18 per cent of all personal support services in Ontario are provided by Red Cross staff.

"People who rely on home care services deserve quality care. That's impossible when their caregivers are effectively earning less than minimum wage," said Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Local One Canada. "We are prepared to support these caring professionals in their efforts to improve their jobs and the quality of care they provide."

The McGuinty Government has committed to an "Aging at Home" strategy but has yet to address the fundamental problems in Ontario's home care system. An ongoing cycle of competitive bidding has driven down wages and benefits and driven professionals out of the system. A study of the impact of "managed competition" on home care workers found more than half of workers left their jobs within five years. As a result, home care providers are struggling to meet their human resource needs and people who rely on home care services are being left to wait.

"If something doesn't change a strike is inevitable," said Cathy Carroll, Secretary Treasurer of SEIU Local One Canada. "All funding for home care services comes from the provincial government. We're calling on the McGuinty Government to work with us to address fundamental problems in home care, and stop a strike before it happens."

Contact Information

  • SEIU Canada
    Christine Miller
    (905) 695-1203 x 224 or (416) 567-5041