TORONTO, April 23, 2019 /CNW/ - Unifor opens negotiations with ten Extendicare owned nursing homes this week and is prioritizing addressing the poor working conditions that lead to a massive shortage of personal support workers across the province.
"The expectations placed on front-line caregivers in long-term care are not only shocking but alarming and dangerous," said Jerry Dias Unifor National President.
The new normal for a ratio of PSW's to residents is about one to twelve on a day shift and even higher on other shifts. Nurses can be responsible for as many as 50 residents to provide treatments, medications and monitoring.
"Nursing homes are not only home to frail vulnerable seniors, but to those as young as 18, often with complex mental health issues, creating a hazardous combination," said Dias. "It's no wonder personal support workers are opting out of this profession."
Unifor and the Ontario Health Coalition are working together to tackle the shortage of PSW's at a series of round-table meetings across the province that include employer's, government representatives and front-line caregivers.
"These meetings have given us some real insight into the challenges faced by workers that essentially leave them drained at the end of a shift, always knowing there were things that they just couldn't do for their residents," said Andy Savela, Unifor Director of Health Care. "The fact of the matter is that we need better care, safer work, and a reasonable compensation package to staff these homes appropriately."
Unifor is fully committed to negotiating a fair and equitable settlement that recognizes the effort and sacrifice of our members.
Unifor represents more than 30,000 health care workers in hospitals, long-term care, emergency services, and community and social services.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.