OTTAWA, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–While front-line Ottawa hospital and long-term care workers were overwhelmed caring for the sick over two years COVID-19 during the pandemic, PC MPP’s like Nepean’s Lisa MacLeod proudly defended their government’s 1% wage cap legislation (Bill 124) that with rising inflation hits the province’s “pandemic heroines” with a 4% real wage cut in 2021 and more than a 4% cut again in 2022.
On Monday March 14 they will be at MacLeod’s Nepean office, protesting and asking her to ‘stand with them, not against them’ and to help push her government to repeal Bill 124.
“The Ford government’s wage cap devalues and disrespects a largely female workforce that has made huge personal sacrifices. It cuts their real wages and leaves them with no ability to bargain badly needed mental supports after the trauma of caring for patients and residents through the pandemic. We think most Ontarians are on the side of health care workers. We are asking ‘MPP MacLeod to stand with us in calling for this bill to be repealed,” says Dave Verch, an Ottawa registered practical nurse (RPN) and Eastern Ontario Vice-president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE).
Since March 1, 1,600 health care workers have contracted COVID-19 at work, one of the highest rates of infection during the pandemic. CUPE believes this would not be happening if health care workers were adequately protected and is bargaining along with SEIU Healthcare for increased access to N95 masks.
CUPE in Ontario represents nearly 90,000 health care workers. 90% of RPNs and personal support workers (PSWs) working in the health system are women. 65% of the people who clean and disinfect our hospitals and 75% of respiratory therapists are women. Almost all the ward clerks and other administrative workers are female.
“At the root of it, Bill 124 is sexist and discriminatory legislation. It doesn’t cover any other emergency personnel, like paramedics, police, and fire- which tend to be male dominated. It must go or many more nurses, PSWs and other staff will leave their jobs at hospitals and long-term care homes which are already struggling with staff shortages,” says Verch.
Monday’s Ottawa rally is the first in a series of health care worker protests planned at PC MPP’s offices over the next few weeks across Ontario, including Brockville, North Bay, Pickering, Brampton, Milton, Mississauga, Burlington, Peterborough, Kenora, Stratford, Port Hope, Newmarket, Barrie, and Niagara.
WHO: Ottawa hospital and long-term care workers including registered practical nurses, personal support workers (PSWs), trades, administrative and cleaners
WHAT: ‘Stand with health care workers’ rally/protest
WHERE: MPP Lisa MacLeod’s Constituency Office – 250B Greenbank Rd., Nepean
WHEN: Monday, March 14, 2022, at 11 a.m.