Dozens of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 393 home care workers rallied outside the ParaMed Home Health Care head office in Barrie on Wednesday. On Thursday, ParaMed updated their offer to the bargaining team, and the team agreed to extend their strike deadline past January 27th.
In a bargaining bulletin sent out on Thursday, the bargaining team told the members that they will comprehensively review the employer’s offer on January 26. The team’s message to their members is that “Local 393 is ‘small but mighty’ with an indomitable spirit.”
At the Wednesday rally, the workers were joined in solidarity by allies from nearby OPSEU/SEFPO locals, their Region 3 Vice-President Sara Labelle and other local leaders. The members shared their plight with reporters from various print and television news outlets, including CTV News Barrie and BarrieToday.com.
Labelle addressed Local 393 members at the rally and connected the struggle they are having in bargaining with their giant for-profit employer with the recent move by the Ontario government to further privatize health care delivery in Ontario.
ParaMed receives 99% of their funding from Ontario government contracts. They are owned by for-profit giant Extendicare, which made $1.2 billion in revenue in 2021. Their revenues increased by 8.7% in the third quarter of 2022 over the previous year.
Local 393 President Cheryl Bumstead and 1st VP Lynne Reilly put ParaMed on notice that the members of their “Small But Mighty” local will not accept pennies from a billion-dollar corporation, and led the members in chants of, “If we’re valued, show us!”
Kelly Martin, President of Local 330 shared words of solidarity on behalf of education workers from Simcoe County District School Board, who made history by standing in solidarity with CUPE against the Ford government’s attempt to use the notwithstanding clause to take away their bargaining rights and legislate their contract.
Chris McConnell, Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO’s Orillia Area Council, also brought greetings and solidarity on behalf of the locals in the Orillia service area.