Valley Manor long-term care workers still seeking a fair deal

BARRY’S BAY, Ont. – Workers at the Valley Manor long-term care home who have endured enormous challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic continue to mobilize to improve conditions for the facility’s staff and residents.

The workers, who care for 80 seniors at Valley Manor, will hold a demonstration outside the facility on Tuesday, April 26, from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m., to bring community awareness to their struggle to negotiate a fair contract with their employer.

       WHO: Valley Manor long-term care home workers

       WHAT: Community awareness demonstration for better conditions

       WHEN: Tuesday, April 26, 2:15 to 2:45 p.m.

       WHERE: 88 Mintha Street, Barry's Bay, Ont.

A total of 87 full-time and part-time employees at Valley Manor have been attempting to negotiate a fair contract with their employer for several months. The employees are members of United Steelworkers union (USW) Local 6946-12.

As a group, the workers have been wearing blue scrubs every Tuesday as a sign of solidarity with their bargaining team and to demonstrate to their employer that they are serious about the need to improve conditions for staff and residents. The workers will again be sporting their blue scrubs on April 26 when they demonstrate outside the Valley Manor facility.

The workers are denied the right to strike as a result of legislation passed by the Ontario government. Further, Valley Manor is suppressing the workers’ wages by relying on other legislation passed by the Conservative government that limits public-sector wage increases to 1%.

Wage suppression and the failure to improve difficult working conditions will exacerbate a long-term care staffing crisis, as qualified workers leave for other jobs with higher pay, said union representative Briana Broderick.

Meanwhile, Valley Manor’s failure to address the workers’ concerns regarding working conditions means that collective bargaining issues will be settled by binding arbitration, Broderick noted.

“These are essential workers who have performed their duties under such adverse conditions throughout the pandemic, yet they can’t get a fair, negotiated deal from their employer,” she said. “They are not legally permitted to strike, but they’re demonstrating that if they had the ability to take strike action, they would.”

An arbitration hearing to decide the final contract is scheduled for the end of May. Union and employer representatives will make submissions to the arbitration board regarding outstanding issues, and a decision is likely to be released by the summer.

“These workers simply want a contract that is fair for everyone – the residents, the home and the staff,” said USW Ontario Director Myles Sullivan.

“All they want is the respect and dignity of a fair contract that recognizes the vital contributions they have been making to Valley Manor and its residents throughout the pandemic,” Sullivan said.


For further information:

Briana Broderick, USW staff representative, 613-929-0306, bbroderick@usw.ca
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell), sdevine@usw.ca

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