CarePartners workers, members of The Ontario Public Service Employers Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) in Canada, have been on strike for four months trying to negotiate a new pay structure and improved sick time and health and safety provisions. Previously, home care was provided by salaried employees who worked for nonprofit organizations. Then, the 100% taxpayer-funded Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) put home care out to competitive bidding from for-profit companies. The cheapest bid won, and the winners drove down their costs by suppressing wages and benefits. Regional CCAC nurses are now paid per visit, not per hour, and many of them are no longer earning even minimum wage. They also have no sick days or compensation for overtime. Meanwhile, the owners of CarePartners set themselves up with high salaries and fancy offices.
The result, according to OPSEU President Warren Thomas, is “patients are receiving poorer care and healthcare professionals are seeing good jobs destroyed. In a statement released last week, Thomas called on the provincial government to take action. “Using taxpayer dollars to prolong legal work stoppages is not only a waste of money but belies any claim that this Liberal government is progressive towards the needs of our most fragile citizens and our skilled healthcare workers, the vast majority of whom are women,” he says.