Public Values

3,000 Ontario Red Cross home care workers begin strike

Home health service professionals left living below poverty line after months of bargaining.

PV publisher Ish Theilheimer speaks to Sharleen Stewart of SEIU CanadaTORONTO, March 24, 2009 — 3,000 women and men who work for Red Cross providing home care services will begin strike action starting with a one day strike in the Sudbury region commencing at 11am today.

"The women and men who provide home care support have been pushed to the limit. The McGuinty Government needs to take responsibility for the crisis in Ontario's home care system," says Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Local 1 Canada.

Red Cross is one of the largest agencies under contract with the government to provide home care services. Home care is the delivery of health care and support services in the home. This service enables seniors, people with disabilities, people recovering from surgery and children with special needs to access care in a more comfortable environment.

Red Cross personal support workers with SEIU have been in a legal strike position since Monday. Last summer, Red Cross home care workers voted 88 percent in support of a strike to address key issues. After months of bargaining it's clear that a resolution isn't possible unless the government acts.

Home care workers across Ontario have been in a legal position to strike since Monday. Strike action begins today with a one-day action in Sudbury. Home care workers in Sudbury will be back on the job tomorrow. Red Cross home care workers also provide services in Toronto, Windsor, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, Timmins, Peterborough, Cornwall, Burlington and other communities around the province.

"Ontario's home care system isn't working. The McGuinty Government has adopted a system that leaves the professionals who provide key home health services living below the poverty line. The services our members provide are a vital part of the health care system, and the McGuinty Government has to take responsibility," said Stewart.

SEIU represents more than 6,000 home care workers in Ontario and 500,000 home care workers in North America.

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Posted: March 25, 2009

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