Toronto – In what they’re calling a major test of Doug Ford’s true commitment to “the little guy,” the presidents of OPSEU and Unifor are demanding that the new premier crack down on “bad boss” doctors.
“Some doctors are bad bosses and that hurts the entire community,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Look at what’s happening in Owen Sound, where the doctors are attacking members of their community with high-priced Toronto lawyers, high-priced security, and low-blows on social media.
“We’re calling on Premier Ford to tell doctors that if they want a fee increase, they have to start acting like good bosses,” said Thomas.
Ontario’s doctors have been demanding a fee increase of 15 per cent by 2021. At the same time, front-line health care workers from at least two doctor-owned community health clinics have been struggling with low pay, high turnover, and precarious working conditions. Workers at the Owen Sound Family Health Organization and the Port Arthur Health Centre in Thunder Bay have been on strike for weeks.
“This is a case of the needy and the greedy, with millionaire doctors paying the health care workers they employ just over minimum wage,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “It’s disgraceful that at the Port Arthur Health Centre in Thunder Bay there are 30 year employees who are making $14.71 an hour.”
The striking workers aren’t asking for the moon – they just want the decent pay and stable working conditions needed to offer quality care.
“We don’t do this job for the money. I do it because I love helping people,” said Tina Roscoe, who works as an RPN at the Owen Sound Family Health Organization. “But right now, we’re not able to help people as much as we’d like. For most of us, the pay is too low. That means the turnover is too high, and the atmosphere is too toxic.”
“The 65 striking health care workers are all women who are paid very little and in many cases have no health care benefits,” said Port Arthur Health Care worker Lori Salmi, represented by Unifor Local 229. “There are workers who put in full-time hours, some for as long as 15 years, who are still classified as casual workers so the clinic doesn’t have to provide them with benefits. We’re asking for a living wage and basic respect to be shown to the workers who keep these for-profit clinics operational.”
For more information:
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931
Unifor National President Jerry Dias, contact Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe 416-896-3303