OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has formally requested a meeting with Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, to discuss the unconscionable behavior of the employer at CarePartners. While attending Sunday’s Informational Rally in Kitchener, Thomas said that he would take the concerns of the members of Local 294 directly to the Minister. As he says in his letter to the Minister: “This dispute involves you.”
Following is the full text of the letter:
July 7, 2015
Dear Minister Hoskins:
I am writing about the unconscionable behavior of CarePartners, the home health care agency under contract to the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant CCAC. I am requesting that you do your job as Minister to intervene in the labour dispute between CarePartners and its employees to ensure that the workers are properly paid and patients receive the treatment they deserve. OPSEU believes that the health care system should put patients before profits, and I respectfully request a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss how an appropriate settlement can be reached.
OPSEU Local 294 has now been on strike for more than 12 weeks. The contract demands of these workers are entirely legitimate. The workers are currently paid by the visit rather than by the hour. They have no sick days or compensation for overtime. This is appalling treatment of staff whose work is so vital to the community. The staff turnover rate at the agency is already high and directly impacts the health and well-being of their clients.
Local 294 is demanding that the owner of CarePartners, Linda Knight, bargain in good faith, and give workers the contract they deserve. In turn, this will ensure the patients receive the quality care they need.
This dispute involves you. These workers are paid with tax dollars from the citizens of Ontario. The money the government collects from taxpayers should pay for patient care, not fattening the bank accounts of private owners with the contracts to provide home health care delivery. I respectfully urge you to take all steps necessary to ensure the money is spent where it belongs so that this labour action can be brought to an end.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas