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Personal support workers to go on strike Wednesday

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Dec 10, 2013 - 3:54 PM |
Around 4,500 personal support workers are expected to go on strike across Ontario Wednesday. File photo.

Around 4,500 personal support workers are expected to go on strike across Ontario Wednesday. File photo.

On average the starting pay is $15 an hour for a personal support worker

Around 4,500 personal support workers across Ontario, with the SEIU Healthcare union will walk off the job Wednesday to protest their wages.

In Sudbury, personal support workers will be on strike outside of the Community Care Access Centre office in the Rainbow Centre.

The personal support workers are employed by Red Cross Care Partners, the largest home care agency in Ontario, and a for-profit company. They practice home care for high needs clients.

“These workers are tired of being pushed around and taken for granted,” said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, in a release. “They are paid poverty-level wages of $15 an hour and are expected to pay for gas out of pocket when they drive long distances to make home visits.”

The personal support workers have been in a legal strike position for several weeks and recently voted to reject a tentative agreement with Red Cross Care Partners. They have been working without a contract since April.

“We estimate 50 cents of every dollar given to Red Cross ($143 million this year) is skimmed off for bureaucracy, excessive executive pay and profit,” Stewart said. “Where is the accountability in this system for delivering quality care to seniors and vulnerable clients?”

According to SEIU Healthcare, the CEO of the Red Cross Society was given a 9 per cent pay increase last year, bringing his salary to $297,000, a sum that is 11 times the average salary of a personal support worker.

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