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Category: Latest News

Seniors Deserve Far More Than Provinces’ Empty Platitudes

Seniors Deserve Far More Than Provinces’ Empty Platitudes

On talk shows, in news headlines, and in speaking with seniors, nurses hear the same stories: seniors who need care don’t know where to turn. Most seniors want to “age in place,” maintaining their independence for as long as possible. Home care is in short supply, and there are long wait times for long-term care. Access, expense, and safety are significant concerns for seniors seeking care.

As the number of seniors in the Canadian population continues to grow, the crisis of care is set to worsen. Data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information confirm that seniors are living longer than ever, with increasingly complex conditions.

And yet, Canada’s spending on long-term care as a percentage of GDP remains stagnant, lagging behind the OECD average.


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Unifor and Medical Laboratories of Windsor agreement ratified

Medical Laboratory Assistants and Medical Laboratory Technicians, represented by Unifor Local 2458, have ratified a tentative agreement with Medical Laboratories of Windsor, bringing a three week strike to an end.

“We’re pleased to have a deal that recognizes the value of the members work,” said Tullio DiPonti, Local 2458 Secretary-Treasurer. “We appreciate the support that we received from the public during this job action. Now that we have a resolution, the members are looking forward to once again delivering high quality service to patients in the Windsor community.”

The workers voted 81 per cent in favour of a new three year contract that includes wage increases, improved benefits, and increased vacation.

“I’m very proud of what was achieved by the bargaining committee,” said Katha Fortier, Unifor Assistant to the National President. “This agreement is a start to addressing the disparity between the public and private sectors in Ontario’s health care system.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

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Unifor and Medical Laboratories of Windsor agreement ratified

Day 2 – Medical Laboratories of Windsor Strike

On what is a usually busy Tuesday, spirits remain high on the picket line with our striking members at Medical Laboratories of Windsor. Unfair wages paired with a lack of respect in the workplace are as important to these workers as the patients they care for.

This is the unfortunate reality of the privatization of hospital services. Unifor and our members will never believe that profits come before people.

Thank you to Unifor Locals 195, 240 and 444, OPSEU Windsor, Windsor University Faculty Association, CUPW, ETFO Windsor, Frank Butler COPE 343, Steve Clendenning Unifor Local 914 and Sarnia and District Labour Council, members of the community, honking drivers, bell ringing cyclists, former employees, and passing citizens for their kind words and continued solidarity.

One day longer. One day stronger.

Medical Laboratories of Windsor – ON STRIKE

Approximately 90 Medical Lab Assistants and Medical Lab Technologists, represented by Unifor Local 2458, are currently on strike at eight Medical Laboratories of Windsor locations.

What’s at issue?

Medical laboratory testing used to be provided directly by the government. Since these services were contracted out to for-profit labs, including Medical Laboratories of Windsor, wages for lab workers working outside the hospital system have fallen steadily while the cost to the system has increased.

These members are performing highly skilled, technical jobs that provide vital medical information for patients, yet many are making half of what those doing the same job in a hospital are paid.

For the first five years of service Medical Lab Technologists earn $22.00 an hour and Medical Lab Assistants earn just $13.50.

Medical Laboratories of Windsor employees have been working without a contract since March, 2017.

The workers did not make the decision to strike lightly. They care about the patients they serve but the time has come to stand up for fairness.

Let Medical Laboratories of Windsor know you want the workers to receive fair wages and respect!

Medical Laboratories of Windsor – ON STRIKE
Raymond Roy – April 14, 1954 to September 1, 2017

Raymond Roy – April 14, 1954 to September 1, 2017

It is with deep sadness that we announce the loss of our brother, friend and EFAP Representative, Raymond Roy. Our sincere condolences to his wife Kathy, daughters Nicole and Melissa, and to all who knew him.

Ray helped countless members and people not only within our community but also those affected by 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina. Ray was employed by the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board.

Please click here for service arrangements.

Flags at Unifor Local 2458 will be lowered in his honour.

Council of Canadians’ Pharmacare Campaign Update

Earlier this year, the Council of Canadians sent 180 provincial and national labour unions an appeal advancing the case that universal pharmacare will lower Canadian labour costs, remove the need to negotiate drug benefits during collective bargaining, and improve the health of workers by ensuring people can get the medications they need.

As you know, the Council of Canadians’ goal was to produce a groundbreaking new report that would outline the savings a universal pharmacare program would bring for employers and businesses, along with an activist toolkit that would give people the tools they need to lobby MPs and present information to employers in support of pharmacare. Employers, whose companies would gain a significant competitive advantage with pharmacare, could persuasively lobby the federal government to implement a universal publicly-funded pharmacare program.

Our follow-up report, A Prescription for Better Medicine: How universal pharmacare would give Canada an economic advantage, a handimation video, and a grassroots lobbying toolkit for Council of Canadians chapters, union locals and other activists are ready and available online (https://canadians.org/pharmacare).

We hope you will consider downloading or linking to these tools and sending them to your members, and encouraging them to speak to their MP or employer about the benefits of universal pharmacare.

A copy of the original report, A Prescription for Better Medicine: Why Canadians need a national pharmacare program (https://canadians.org/sites/default/files/publications/report-pharmacare…) was mailed to all 338 current MPs along with a questionnaire to assess their position on the issue. Twenty-seven MPs responded, with three providing their specific reasoning on the issue.

More recently, printed copies of the toolkit were available at Canadian Labour Congress convention in Toronto to encourage our brothers and sisters to check out the toolkit and reports online and share it with their members.

A national day of action was planned for May 27 when people across the country spoke to their MPs about pharmacare. At least 15 Council of Canadians chapters will be meeting with their MP to promote pharmacare. Their main messages will be:

? We would save money. Pharmacare would save Canadians approximately $14 billion a year by reducing administration costs and giving us stronger buying power to negotiate better prices for medications.

? Everyone would be covered. Right now 10 per cent of Canadians – approximately 3.5 million people – don’t have even basic drug coverage.

? Companies would pay less. Data shows that Canadian companies spend about $200 million per week on prescription drug costs incurred by employer drug plans.

We also commissioned a poll that shows 91% of Liberal voters want the Liberals to implement pharmacare. This poll will be a useful tool in lobbying meetings.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Jane Philpott has announced there will be public consultations on proposed regulatory changes to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. Online consultations run until June 28. Minister Philpott hopes the new regulations will be in place no later than the end of 2018.

Building on this turn of events, the Council of Canadians’ Pharmacare Toolkit can have a lasting impact through 2017 and beyond with promotion by union members.

We would welcome an invitation to submit articles about this issue in your union’s newsletter. The more ways we can find to share the facts supporting the benefits of a universal pharmacare program, the closer we will get to seeing it become a reality, as envisioned by Tommy Douglas.

Council of Canadians’ Pharmacare Campaign Update
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

For many months Canadians have watched the political climate across the border, seen the polarization of the American people and gaped in shock as events unfolded. While our attention was diverted, we somehow failed to perceive the deepening personal and political divisions of people in Canada. If not outright apathetic, we were willfully or ignorantly blind to the rise of fear and of hate in our country, perhaps because we thought we were immune.

The attack on the mosque in Quebec City that left 6 racialized, Muslim men dead was a shocking event that left many wondering how this could happen? How in Canada, a country known for its peace and politeness, could there be a killing of 6 innocent people in a place of worship, of refuge and sanctuary? This crime of hate against racialized, Muslim Canadians, because they were racialized and Muslim, seemed unimaginable.

We were forced from our complacency by the violent truth of these acts of hate. Much of the country responded with support. There appeared to be a common understanding that when we shut our eyes and our hearts to the injustices perpetrated against others racism and discrimination flourish. We took to the streets, we wrapped our arms and hearts around places of worship, we demanded a world where fear and hate, bigotry and racism are not allowed to impoverish the world and divide humanity against itself.

Our words and our actions following the attacks at the mosque are not enough. Racial discrimination and hate-motivated actions and crimes remain prevalent in Canada and around the world. Social media continues to abound with anti-Muslim, anti-migrant, anti-refugee rhetoric. Our would-be political leaders attend public forums and speak of “Canadian values” while calling for “screening” of immigrants and refugees, ignoring the fact that everyone who steps foot in Canada is screened. They construct an “us” against “them” story that is taking root, causing people to believe they are defending something not being attacked.

On March 21, 2017, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we call for a national conversation about racism and the rise of hate. We call on trade unionists, social justice activists and advocates, political parties, non-governmental actors and grass roots organizations to engage with one another, to create a forum where we can begin the process of reweaving the social fabric that binds us all together.

International Women’s Day – March 8, 2017

On March 8, Unifor marks International Women’s Day with the theme Persistence with solidarity toward equality. The past year has brought intense attacks on equality, in Canada and worldwide. In response, we have risen to these challenges and have mobilized across communities. The strength of the Women’s Marches demonstrates our commitment to moving forward with a diverse, intersectional movement.

Over the past year, Unifor has been actively working to close the gender wage gap, increase access to good jobs including in the skilled trades, and end harassment at work. The government has a role to play in advancing women’s equality. We’ve been active on two fronts in particular. Unifor calls on the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to create a national child care program because affordable, quality, public child care is integral to women’s economic empowerment and financial security. Unifor is also active in the effort to legislate paid domestic violence leave to aid women who are transitioning to new lives, free of abuse. The union has already bargained paid leave provisions and the Women’s Advocate program into many of our collective agreements. Now it is time to make these supports into law. No woman should have to choose between economic security and her personal safety.

Join Unifor to bring women’s issues to the government. Call on the federal government for concrete action.

Add your name and send a message to the federal government. Sign today to ask your Member of Parliament (MP) to enact a national child care program and paid domestic leave though the Canada Labour Code (http://www.unifor.org/en/member-services/equality/women/international-wo…)

As we celebrate at International Women’s Day events across the country let us take the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to remove all obstacles to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The struggle for equality will take persistence.

International Women’s Day – March 8, 2017