Steelworkers’ Settlement at Long-Term Care Facility Improves Conditions, Wages and Benefits

COBDEN, Ont. – A United Steelworkers union (USW) settlement with a long-term-care facility in Eastern Ontario recognizes the growing issues of staffing and increased levels of care, says USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

“Our members are experiencing more and more stress as they deal with changing workloads, increased patient acuity and government austerity, all at a time when long-term care is becoming more important to an aging and ailing population,” Warren said.

The settlement at Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Homes in Cobden involves two collective agreements for members of USW Local 6946. The three-year agreements will see wages increase by a total of 4.5% in the nursing home and by 6% in the retirement home. The agreements cover service workers, personal support workers (PSWs), registered practical nurses (RPNs) and registered nurses (RNs).

In both contracts, there are increases in uniform allowances, vision care, weekend premiums and benefits covering such services as chiropractors, psychologists and others. Employees will also be able to be paid for 50% of unused sick leave. For the first time, there is a provision for time off for employees to deal with domestic violence. There also are improvements in contract language.

“In short, this settlement is a step forward for these 138 members of our union,” said Warren. “At the same time, however, due to government austerity and the consequent restraint practised by boards of arbitration, wage increases tend to be below the rate of inflation.

“That needs to change as long-term care generally faces a shortage of skilled workers. The future demands secure public services for older Canadians and better working conditions for care providers.”


For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
David Lipton, USW Staff Representative, 613-260-7205, ext. 232, 613-859-8403, dlipton@usw.ca

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