Personal and Home Support Workers at SE Health in Clarington will finally get the workplace support they need now that they’ve voted to join OPSEU.
“On behalf of OPSEU’s entire Executive Board, I’d like to extend a hearty welcome to our newest members,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
“With our public services under attack by the Ford government there is strength in numbers and being part of a big union like OPSEU gives you a strong voice.”
The new members at SE Health (which was formerly known as Saint Elizabeth Health Care) provide vital support to hundreds of home care patients across the Durham region.
They voted to join OPSEU for a variety of reasons, including people getting paid differently for doing the same work, vacation allotments that never go up, a stronger voice in the workplace, and the fact that they’re not paid for all of the mileage they rack up.
“Most of these workers are on the road every day, travelling in their own vehicles from patient to patient to patient,” said OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “But right now, the employer is forcing them to swallow most of the costs of all that driving.
“For one thing, they don’t get paid any mileage for the drive to their first client of the day. But it gets even worse,” said Almeida. “Then they have to drive another 50 kilometres before they start getting reimbursed.
“That’s like saying you have to work three hours for free before you start getting paid for the day – it’s just wrong.”
OPSEU’s Community Health Care Professionals Sector Chair, Lucy Morton, told the new members they can count on the strong support of OPSEU members and staff as they negotiate their first collective agreement.
“When you work together, you win,” Morton told the new members. “You win for yourselves, for your families, and for the people who depend on the services you provide.”