UNIONVILLE – Front-line staff at Union Villa are overworked and underpaid, to the detriment of residents and home-care clients of the long-term care facility, the Canadian Union of Public Employees charges.
Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) at the long-term care facility are now doing the work of managers. The nurses are upset that they no longer have enough time to devote to residents, says MacKenzie, the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3744. Nurses, health care aides, maintenance staff, laundry workers – everyone is overworked, underpaid and deeply unhappy. For example, we only have one maintenance person on night duty for the entire campus and he is forced to leave his regular assignment when we have an emergency. When a toilet overflows in a residents room, it can take two to three hours to get it fixed. In the meantime, we have to try to prevent residents who have Alzheimers and other conditions from slipping and falling.
Union Villa has been calling a temporary agency when they want nurses to cover shifts, says MacKenzie. It is far more expensive to bring in agency staff and difficulties arise because they are not familiar with the buildings or the operation.
CUPE is asking Union Villa to address understaffing, workload and associated problems at the bargaining table. The current contract expired in 2003. One day of bargaining has been scheduled for May 4. Management has cancelled 10 of the 12 days we had scheduled for bargaining, says MacKenzie. Staff morale is very low. Union Villa is in the middle of a huge expansion and the employees are worried about the future. Getting bigger does not mean we are getting better.
CUPE Local 3744 represents: RPNs, health care aides, maintenance staff, housekeeping staff, laundry staff and personal support workers at Union Villa.
For more information, please contact:
Marie MacKenzie, 905-887-2259
Shannon McManus, CUPE communications - 416-455-8247