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Niagara Health workers ‘disrespected, disappointed’ by boss’s Caribbean vacation

Shortly after the media began reporting on the OPSEU/SEFPO calls for the resignation of Niagara and Hamilton hospital CEO Tom Stewart for his Caribbean holiday, both hospitals have effectively ousted him.

“OPSEU members at Niagara Health have lost faith and have called for his resignation,” OPSEU/SEFPO Local 215 president Brenda Allan told The St. Catherines Standard on Jan. 6. Niagara Health terminated its contract with Stewart later on Jan. 6. On Jan. 7, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton announced that it and Stewart have “parted ways.”

The Standard also quoted OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida.

“We expect our leaders to lead by example. During a health crisis, that’s especially true of the leaders of our hospitals,” said Thomas. “Stewart has to be told that he must do the right thing and step down.”

“But as all of our health-care members know so well, being on the public payroll in health care comes with the responsibility of not putting people’s health at risk,” said Almeida. “Taking a Caribbean vacation during this pandemic was a terrible decision that put at risk the lives of countless Ontarians. It was a breach of ethical responsibility that not only let down his patients and colleagues, but every citizen in the province.”