Extendicare Urged to Return to Bargaining by Pickets
May 27, 2010, 2:55 PM EST
More than 250 CAW members took part in demonstrations outside Extendicare nursing home facilities in Sault Ste. Marie and London, Ontario, recently demanding that the employer return to the bargaining table to negotiate an equitable agreement.
CAW Local 1120 members held the Sault Ste. Marie information picket May 19 and CAW Local 302 members in London on May 20 to raise public awareness around the negotiations. At the London rally, participants were also greeted by CAW National Secretary Treasurer Peter Kennedy and London-Fanshawe NDP MP Irene Mathyssen, who addressed the crowd.
Company officials have walked away from the bargaining table after demanding a two-year wage freeze and other concessions even though Extendicare Real Estate Investment Trust reported a first quarter profit of $15.6 million, up from $3.7 million a year ago.
CAW Local 1120 President Janice Pettalia said members from both the Extendicare Tendercare Nursing Home and Van Daele Manor in Sault Ste. Marie took part, as well as a number of residents.
"Extendicare is a private and hugely profitable company and is demanding wage freezes from our members who work hard and provide quality care in these homes," Pettalia said.
CAW Local 302 President and National Executive Board member Nancy McMurphy said that this fight is with the employer, not the residents. "We want to ensure that residents are still provided with the same high level of care as they always are," said McMurphy. Our members just want to be treated with the same dignity and respect they provide to residents on a daily basis."
McMurphy said the London rally was timed so that the CAW Group of 20 (nursing homes) bargaining committee could participate in solidarity, as the committee was meeting to set their agenda for upcoming negotiations.
The CAW represents more than 1,200 members at 10 Extendicare facilities throughout Ontario.