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(Halifax) Canadas largest union has launched a major, new campaign in Nova Scotia, aimed at over 1,000 nursing home workers who are not currently in unions.

The organizing campaign, Calling all Nursing Home Workers, kicks off this week and will run for the next four months. CUPE is the largest union in the sector, representing 3,500 workers in 37 homes across the province.

CUPE Long Term Care Co-ordinator Kelly Murray says, With all of the attention focused right now on finding new long term care beds to ease the crisis in our ERs, well be focusing our energies on making sure the workers in those facilities get the representation they deserve.

Here in Nova Scotia, increased numbers of people in our society are requiring long term care. At the same time, governments are choosing to ignore the increased pressure this is putting on the system, says Murray.

Adequate funding along with decent wages and working conditions for frontline workers do not appear to be high on their priority lists these days. The issue of aging and support for the elderly is often ignored.

Unfortunately, this tends to mean work in the sector is also devalued, explains Murray.

Says Murray, CUPEs last two contracts in long term care have seen significant improvements to wages, benefits, pensions, staffing ratios and more. Wed like to see these 1,000 workers also enjoying what weve achieved in the sector.

CUPE has set up a 1-800 number for nursing home workers to call to find out more. That number is 1-866-FYI-CUPE (394-2873). The union will also be scheduling information meetings around the province over the next four months.

CUPE is Canadas largest union with over half-a-million members. It is also the largest health care union in the country.

For information:
Kelly Murray, CUPE Long Term Care Co-ordinator
455-4180 (o)

John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
455-4180 (o)