In Ottawa and across the province hospital and long-term care health care staff represented by CUPE took part in an International Women’s Day workplace action that calls on the Ontario government to respect, protect, and increase pay for health care workeHospital and long-term care health care staff across Ontario represented by CUPE took part in an International Women’s Day workplace action that calls on the Ontario government to respect, protect, and increase pay for health care workers who are predominantly women.

At hospitals and long-term care homes throughout Ontario health care workers are wearing stickers, holding up signs saying ‘Respect Us. Protect Us. Pay Us’. At some locations they held outdoor rallies.

An outdoor distanced rally took place at 12:00 noon, Monday March 8 at the Saint-Vincent Hospital site of Bruyère, 60 Cambridge St. North.

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, health care workers have made great personal and economic sacrifices. They have not been adequately protected by this government and nearly 20,000 have contracted the virus. Only some have been provided pandemic pay and those who work part-time not given sick pay for isolating if exposed. The pandemic has shown just how valuable, heroic, and dedicated this gendered workforce is. They must be respected, protected, and better paid,” says Sharon Richer the secretary-treasurer of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE).

Respect Us, Protect Us, Pay Us is a joint CUPE, SEIU Healthcare and Unifor campaign. Collectively the unions represent 175,000 health care workers in Ontario. They are calling on the Doug Ford government to:

  • Reverse the staff exodus in health care by turning exploitative part-time work into full-time jobs with benefits
  • Provide paid-sick leave for COVID-19 related illnesses and providing pay while staff await COVID-19 test results or are in isolation
  • Provide the PPE that health care workers need to work safely
  • Make the initial $4 per hour “pandemic pay” available to all healthcare workers and made permanent going forward