Do large employers like the Peterborough Regional Health Centre have a responsibility to the whole of the community to create good stable jobs that pay fair wages? The results of a poll conducted earlier this month of over 1500 area residents that asked that question, among others, will be released at a media conference on Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 11 a.m. at the Hospital Drive north entrance of the Peterborough hospital.
In many communities across Ontario the issue of decent work that pays workers a living wage is increasingly being raised as a key component to sustain local economies.
The poll asked several specific questions about the Peterborough hospital’s contracting out retail food service workers’ jobs to multinational corporation Compass, a company known to pay its workforce low wages with few benefits. In fact following the hospital’s outsourcing the jobs to Compass, the workers’ wages were cut in half.
“From our perspective there is considerable appetite and support in the Peterborough community for jobs that pay fair wages. The hospital is a large employer that should not be supporting a contractor that pays poverty level wages. The poll shows that the community expects better of them,” says Michael Hurley president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) that commissioned the poll.
30 food service staff, the majority of them women are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1943.1. In current negotiations with Compass they are asking for a modest wage increase. The last day of negotiations with Compass last Tuesday failed to achieve a new contract and a strike is possible as of July 15.
The majority of poll respondents are women over 51 years old.
“This is the demographic group most likely to make health care decisions for their families. They are also the people who most often volunteer time and donate to the hospital. The poll shows they expect the hospital to be a leader when it comes to good jobs,” says Laurie Hatton the president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1943 that represents 530 hospital employees in addition to the 30 Compass workers.
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President CUPE 1943