In the face of Ford chaos, more hospital professionals joining OPSEU

A large group of well over 100 rehabilitation professionals at Southlake Regional Health Centre has strengthened job security and has a stronger voice in the workplace by voting to join OPSEU.

“On behalf of OPSEU’s entire Executive Board, I’d like to congratulate these hospital professionals for exercising their right to join a union,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

“Now’s the time to do it. Our health care system is in increasing chaos as the Ford government blunders its way through its disastrous scheme to restructure and amalgamate,” said Thomas. “Joining a union is the best way for them to protect their work and the patients they care for.”

The newest OPSEU members work as Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, OTA/PTAs, Recreation Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, and Communication Disorder Assistants at Southlake’s main hospital in Newmarket as well as four satellite locations across the Regional Municipality of York and the City of Toronto.

Like everybody else working in health care, these new members and the patients they serve are feeling the consequences of understaffing and underfunding every day.

“These health professionals are doing the best they can, but they are understaffed and they aren’t being backfilled and they are risking injuring themselves just trying to meet the demand,” said Sara Labelle, the chair of OPSEU’s Hospital Professionals Division. “And the increase in hallway health care means they’re having to use alternate and inferior spaces to do their work, because the spaces they used to use are now being used for patient beds.

“So I welcome them whole-heartedly to OPSEU. Our number one goal is to ensure that patients get the best and fastest care possible. By joining together, we’re a powerful voice against cuts and privatization.”