Justice for PSWs

On Wednesday, December 11, more than 4500 Personal Support Workers walked off the job and began their strike against their employer, the Red Cross.

These workers are standing up for the values we hold so near and dear to our hearts: justice, fairness, and respect. 

Personal Support Workers take care of our elderly and sick in the comfort of their own homes. Yet, they are paid poverty-level wages of $15/hour and are expected to pay for gas out of pocket when they drive long distances to make home visits. Furthermore, the caregivers are not paid for the time it takes to travel from one client’s house to another, which becomes an even bigger problem for the PSWs who work in remote locations.

In the last two years alone, PSW earnings have been reduced by about 7% as a result of a wage freeze combined with inflation and a massive increase in the price of gas.

SEIU PSWs have launched a province-wide strike to stand up for the people who care for our loved ones. 

Over the past week they have made headlines across the province. From Waterloo to Thunder Bay, the united voices of the labour movement are growing stronger and stronger. They have called on the public to demand Justice4PSW’s from their local MPPs.

Still, PSWs need your support. 

With all their gains, we also recognize that most of the people on the picket lines are going home day after day, without pay. During this cold and busy time of the year, these PSWs are often unable to buy food for their families or winter clothes for their children, let alone think about Christmas presents. As we all brave the cold together, SEIU is appealing to everyone in the labour family to support our PSWs by donating:

  • to the strike fund by sending a cheque to SEIU Healthcare, 125 Mural Street, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 1M4. Cheques should be addressed to SEIU Local 1 Canada Strike Fund
  • Food vouchers and gift cards
  • Winter jackets and attire
  • Toys

You can also help by:

  • Joining the picket lines in your local region
  • Bringing soup to your local picket lines
  • Contacting your local MPP and demand Justice4PSWs at www.justice4psws.ca

For picket lines locations or to make a food voucher, winter gear or toys donation, please contact Dave Pielas at d.pielas@seiuhealthcare.ca or call 416-809-2290

Showing 2 reactions

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  • Marc Xuereb
    commented 2014-03-20 09:32:24 -0400
    Apologies to Amber: we must have missed your comment until now. Amber, you are not alone. PSWs across the province, whether unionized or not, experience the kind of conditions you describe. We all need to be speaking up about these kinds of conditions: we say we have great health care, but don’t pay much attention to the workers being exploited to deliver it!
    Karen, you’re right that conditions are even worse for non-unionized PSWs. Part of the problem is that the province contracts out these services to the lowest bidder, so companies are rewarded for exploiting workers. We need to help organize the entire long-term care sector into unions, and change government policy!
    I have two suggestions for PSWs wanting to get help and help fight back: contact the Ontario Health Coalition (www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca or 416-441-2502), or contact your union or a union that represents workers in this sector. I know of at least three unions with PSW members: SEIU (www.seiuhealthcare.ca or 1-800-267-SEIU), CUPE (http://www.cupe.on.ca/s18/health-care or 613-237-1590), and Unifor (http://www.unifor.org/en/why-unifor or 1-800-265-2884).
  • Amber Delisle
    commented 2014-02-28 02:10:16 -0500
    We need something like this in Sudbury for our PSW’s who drive to clients, as well as for the long term care homes. We are always working short staffed, missing breaks (sometimes not even having time for our unpaid 1/2 hr), rushing, breaking our backs. It is not safe for us, and it is not safe for the residents either. We (in my place of work) are also dealing with a lot of bullying from management and other workers as well-but nothing really is being done. Anyone have any ideas or help?