BARRY’S BAY, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Personal Support Workers (PSWs) will be in the centre of the Eastern Ontario town of Barry’s Bay on Friday, Oct. 29, seeking community support for their efforts to improve working conditions at Valley Manor long-term care home.
The 87 full-time and part-time PSWs, members of United Steelworkers union (USW) Local 6946-12, care for 80 seniors at Valley Manor. The workers are in contract negotiations with their employer.
The PSWs are asking community members to support their calls for a fair deal at work by emailing Valley Manor CEO Trisha DesLaurier to call for better treatment of workers and improved scheduling and staffing levels.
The Community Awareness Event takes place on Friday, Oct. 29, from 1 to 3:30 p.m., outside the BMO building at 19544 Opeongo Line, Barry’s Bay (at the intersection of Hwy. 60 and County Road 62).
“The Valley Manor staff have put in a gruelling effort throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the vulnerable seniors they care for are protected. Now, it’s time for the employer to recognize their hard work – with a fair deal,” said Briana Broderick, USW spokesperson.
As health-care workers, the staff are covered by the Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act and can’t go on strike. They’re taking community action instead, to draw attention to the issues Valley Manor has so far ignored, such as consistent staffing levels, a limit of working five days in a row, and an end to forced bookings that require workers to take on additional shifts, leading to fatigue and risk of injury – all of which compromise resident care.
Valley Manor is suppressing worker wages using Bill 124, the Conservative government’s law that caps public sector wage gains at 1%. This will result in even more staffing crises as qualified workers leave for other long-term care homes with higher pay.
“The changes the workers are requesting will have a positive impact for everyone – the residents, the home and the staff. All they’re asking is that Valley Manor come to the table and engage meaningfully on these workers’ collaborative proposals,” said Broderick.