Friday February 6 marked the end of the first week on strike for nearly 3,000 Care Coordinators, members of the Ontario Nurses Association who walked out against their employer, Ontario’s Community Care Access Centres (CCAC’s). More than 250 strikers and their supporters were out for a mid-day rally and picket at the North York General Hospital.
Care coordinators, the professionals who organize in home and long term care for patients, are fighting for wages that keep pace with inflation, and for quality care for patients and their families who depend on these supportive community-based services to live and die with dignity in their homes. This in an environment where there is continual pressure to increase caseloads with fewer resources available.
Care coordinators have been working without a contract since April 2014 and their wages have been frozen since 2012. CCAC was offering another one year wage freeze in the new contract while workers are asking for a 1.4 per cent increase this year and next year.
The CCAC’s are looking to trim the earnings of these front line health care professionals while padding the salaries of their sunshine list managers and CEOs. Managers have received substantial increases over past few years, with one CEO getting a raise of $91,000 to join the $200K - $300K salary range of other CCAC CEOs.
The CCAC’s are solely funded by the Province of Ontario through the area Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). This pressure on wages is congruent with the austerity agenda of Wynne’s government for public sector workers.
One worker said “This is not just a healthcare issue, it’s a women’s issue. It’s about women’s wages and valuing women’s work” as most care coordinator positions are held by women.
You can show solidarity by joining picket lines, daily schedules posted at www.ona.org, and by sending a letter to the CCAC’s supporting workers http://www.ona.org/political_action/supportccac.html