Ottawa - The PSWs, Home Support Workers, RPNs, and RNs working at the Extendicare subsidiary called Paramed are now into the third week of their strike action.
As reported earlier on this blog, the workers, represented by OPSEU, are facing an aggressive attack by this employer in the form of a continuation of a two-year wage freeze into another three years. This is a group of very low wage working women, providing crucial services to the public.
But this situation is not merely that of a predatory private health care company mistreating its workers. This dispute has its origins in the mis-management of home care by the Government of Ontario - starting with the Harris governments of the late 1990s, when they moved home care into a competitive bidding process aimed at reducing the wages and busting the unions that had been established in the sector. The Liberal governments of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne have been hardly different in this sector, and are relying on these private corporations to carrying the dirty work of their austerity policies.
The members of Local 492 of OPSEU travelled last week to Extendicare headquarters in Toronto, to get their message across to the company directly. The short video posted here was created by OPSEU to tell the story of this courageous group of women workers.