Halifax Queens County home care workers could go on strike as early as mid-December. The 40 employees, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3885, have rejected the employers final offer, which includes a meager wage increase of 39 cents an hour. The employees approved a strike mandate in November.
The employers final offer is an insult to these hard working, essential employees, says CUPE National Rep Kathy MacLeod. Some of these home care workers earn as little as $7 per hour, while personal care workers in nursing homes will be earning more than $12 an hour by this time next year.
The employees are asking for the same wages and benefits as their counterparts in hospitals and nursing homes, who perform similar work and require the same, and in some cases less, training.
The employees are very upset at being put in a position where they have to choose between the care of their clients and the indignity of working for an employer with such a low regard for their services, says MacLeod. They would gladly return to the table if the employer would show them some respect and present them with a reasonable offer.
CUPE represents approximately 500 home care workers in the province. The union has been meeting recently to discuss strategies for achieving a provincial wage and benefit package for home care workers that recognizes their expanding role in the health care system.
For more information please contact Kathy MacLeod at 455-4180 or 445-4116.