“After the national outrage at what residents and long-term care workers faced during the pandemic, we frankly expected a change in the way they were treated,” said Catherine Fortier, Assistant to the National President. “Arbitrators let down long-term care workers for a decade and staffing shortages were evident across the province long before the pandemic – enough is enough. We are fighting this decision and demanding more for long-term care workers.
Arbitrator Chris White awarded the prize on May 31, 2022, which covers 1,200 workers in 11 long-term care homes represented by Unifor Local 302. The monetary elements of the decision included general salary increases of 1.5% in the first year, 1.75% in the second year; a $0.50 RPN adjustment; a $0.10 increase in the weekend bonus; a $50 increased visual coverage; and increased benefits from existing mental health services for $500.
“I am devastated and angry on behalf of our members,” said Lisa TuckerPresident of Unifor Local 302. “There are so many factors the arbitrator should have considered when crafting this award and it seems unimaginable after the past two years to present long-term care workers with such a sum. It’s insulting. “
The union’s challenge maintains that the arbitrator in this case clearly ignored vital context, from soaring inflation to serious recruiting and retention issues and the ongoing pandemic, and that this decision should not be used as a precedent for further negotiations on long-term care homes.
“The arbitration system is clearly broken, as demonstrated by this ruling, along with the fact that arbitrators have been awarding long-term care home workers wage increases below inflation for more than a decade,” Fortier said. “Compensation is an important factor in ensuring that long-term care homes can properly attract and retain workers, especially given the system-wide staffing shortages in Ontario.”
Unifor is from Canada largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in all major sectors of the economy. The union defends all workers and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: For media inquiries, contact: Shelley Amyotte, Unifor National Communications Representative [email protected] or 902-717-7491