Something is rotten in the state of Manitoba’s long-term care.
Over the past year, hundreds of Manitoba’s long-term care workers have been pushed to take labour action in an attempt to achieve fair wages and safe working conditions.
Maples Personal Care Home (July, 2013), Lions Housing Personal Care Home (August, 2013), Vista Park Lodge (September, 2013), Hillcrest Place (March, 2014), and Tuxedo Villa (July, 2014) have all voted to strike within the past year.
Vista Park Lodge workers, represented by UFCW Local 832 were on legal strike for nearly two months before achieving an offer that was even remotely acceptable. Most of the other facilities noted above (represented by CUPE) have engaged in public info pickets outside their personal care homes in an effort to raise awareness to their cause. In October of 2013, hundreds of personal care home workers from across Manitoba gathered at the steps of the legislature in a large rally, calling on the province for help.
Their concerns are quite straight forward: they want fair wages, and they want adequate staffing levels.
But why is it that staff in so many personal care homes are taking this type of labour action? It’s not often that so many workers from an entire sector, in so many different facilities actually feel the need to strap on their boots and picket outside their places of employment. It is also no coincidence that Maples, Vista Park Lodge, Hillcrest, and Tuxedo Villa are all privately operated personal care homes, owned by Rivera and Extendicare, where the push to keep wages low is driven by the profit motive.
Most long-term care workers are women, middle aged, and many are newcomers to Canada – they are surviving paycheque to paycheque, and have family responsibilities to consider. But still they take the risk of standing up to their employers, and demanding fairness. These workers do everything to provide the best level of care possible to Manitobans who are residents of personal care homes. They are passionate about residents, and strive to give all they can to ensure the health and happiness of our elders.
All of these information pickets indicate that there is something wrong with the state of long-term care in Manitoba, particularly in the private sector. Whether it is unfair wages, or the issue of working short-staffed, the public needs to support these workers in their efforts to make working conditions in personal care homes better. This in turn will ensure that our elders receive the quality and level of care that they deserve.
Please join employees of Tuxedo Villa, CUPE Local 2180, in their second day of info pickets today, August 13.
When: 2pm –4:30pm
Where: Tuxedo Villa, 2060 Corydon ave.
Contact David Jacks at the CUPE Regional Office at (204) 942-0343 for more information.