CAW Fights Extendicare Cuts
April 27, 2007
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Provide less service and get more money. That's Extendicare's operation plan in Tecumseh, Ontario just outside Windsor. In protest the Canadian Auto Workers union Local 2458 took their fight to the street. Unable to strike because they are an essential service, Darlene Prouse, president of the CAW Health Council said the workers are using other methods to focus attention on the situation.
Darlene Prouse Pres
CAW Health Care Council
"We form information picket lines and try to get people out onto the line to get our point across to the employer. They do not like the advertising and anything else that goes along with these picket lines."
Local 2458 and Extendicare are due to resume bargaining in mid May. In the meantime the fight to reverse the announced cut back of 100 service hours continues. The cuts however are just part of the problem according to chair Karen DesJardins.
"But there is also daily non replacement of staff. So we really need to address this because we are already at a very, very low time for care now so what's the fate going to be for 2008? So we're going to fight now. We love our residents, we care for them and hopefully Extendicare will care!"
In April of this year the province increased the funding for Extendicare. Bruce Dickie, president of CAW Local 2458 says the province should now look at how Extendicare is using that money.
CAW Local 2458 Pres
"If there was ever an excuse for the government to come in an take a look at the private sector operator boy that has got to be it. They are giving more and more money to these operators and yet we are seeing less and less care in the facilities."
The CAW is carrying the fight for more not less hours of care to Extendicare and beyond. Bruce Dickie, says the province has to step up and take action.
CAW Local 2458 Pres
"When we talk about New Brunswick, they've guaranteed 3 hours of care and they have a stated goal in that province to raise it to 3.5 hours of care. So that is something we call on McGinty to do. We have got an election coming up this fall and certainly we've got to put pressure on this government to guarantee that these residents get the care they deserve and that the workers get the staffing that they need."
The CAW has already laid the ground work for that fight according to national rep. Katha Fortier.
CAW National Rep.
"Our union has led a campaign to reinstate minimum staffing levels across the province. We have signed thousands and thousands of post cards and we are optimistic we are going to get some minimum staffing levels established. The government has promised it but hasn't followed through just yet."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."