On Friday, October 9, CUPE 2039 submitted a policy grievance against Parkview Place in Winnipeg, citing concerns over unsafe working conditions. The Union met with the employer on October 14 to discuss our concerns.

“Staff at Parkview are doing their best to support residents during this critical time, but they need help,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE’s Health Care Coordinator. “We are beyond an emergency, and staff are completely overwhelmed and frightened for themselves, their families, and the residents they care for.”

CUPE 2039’s grievance called on the Employer to immediately provide N95 masks/respirators to all staff who work on COVID-19 units at Parkview Place. Prior to yesterday, N95 masks/respirators were only being provided to staff following a nurse’s risk assessment.

As a result of CUPE’s grievance, the employer confirmed that N95 masks/respirators will now be provided to all staff working in COVID-19 units.

“It is clear that staff are contracting COVID-19 at work, and we need every safety precaution in place at all times,” said McAteer.

Parkview Place has offered an additional $2.00/hour premium for staff retroactive to September 15 and lasting until the outbreak at Parkview Place is declared over. However, that premium does not negate the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe working environment and permanent improved compensation for all staff, according to CUPE.

CUPE’s grievance also demands the immediate hiring of more health care support staff, as increasing numbers of staff are exposed to COVID-19 and are forced to isolate. In many cases, health care workers have been unable to take breaks due to staffing shortages, leading to exhaustion as they continue to care for residents.

CUPE has been warning the Manitoba government that chronic staff shortages in long-term care will result in crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in privately operated care homes,” says McAteer. “This applies to all long-term care homes in Manitoba, and we need the government to take action now.”

CUPE 2039 represents approximately 163 support staff at Parkview Place.