Bringing Our Voice to the Table
Throughout the year, we organized over 50 member rallies. Rallies can be an excellent tool for fighting a workplace issue and getting the attention of your employer or speaking out against political decisions that negatively impact you. Here are some highlights from some of our biggest rallies of the year!
SEIU Healthcare joined other Ontario healthcare unions and rallied at Queen’s Park to present Premier Doug Ford with over 15,000 postcards you signed as part of our Respect Us. Protect Us. Pay Us. campaign.
Thousands of members across Ontario signed these postcards. We outlined our demand to end Bill 124, increase full-time work with benefits, paid sick days, proper PPE and a wage increase worthy of your hard work and sacrifice. We also invited all party leaders to be there with frontline healthcare workers. All of them showed up – except for Ford.
During the Long-Term Care Conference, over 250 Long-Term Care workers rallied at Chartwell’s head office on Equal Pay Day to demand wage fairness for all healthcare workers.
“I have been an SEIU Healthcare activist for many years and served one term on the Executive Board! Recently, I had the privilege of working with the SEIU Organizing Team, where I visited different LTC units. I had the opportunity to meet other members and hear about the similar and different challenges, depending on which part of the province they work.” Lisa Pattison – Grace Villa Nursing Home
We finished the day with an energetic march down Yonge Street to confront party leaders before they entered the final Leader’s Debate of the 2022 Ontario provincial election. We were the only union to show up. There were many statements about Doug Ford’s poor treatment of healthcare workers, and we influenced party leaders to discuss issues like Bill 124 and mental health support.
July 29 – SEIU Healthcare President was live on CP24, fired up and asking where Ontario Minister of Health Sylvia Jones was hiding as our health human resource crisis got worse.
August 8 – Listen Up Rally
A strong majority of Ontario supports what we are fighting for – a $20 minimum wage, ten paid sick days, well-funded public services, affordability, and better access to a union.
Hundreds of SEIU Healthcare members at Sunnybrook used their break to send a message to Ford to end Bil 124. We also called on hospital CEO Andy Smith to speak truth to power and tell Premier Ford his government’s plan for healthcare is failing.
“Does our health and safety only deserve 1%? Does our mental wellness only deserve 1%? Do our families only deserve 1%? We are physically, mentally and emotionally tired, burnt out, stressed, and hurt. We ask Doug Ford, do the right thing and show us that you know how it feels to be a hospital worker.” – Sanjay Thapa, Environmental Services Worker, Sunnybrook Hospital
December 2 – Parkview Home Members Confront Paul Calandra
Minister Calandra refused to meet with our members, so instead, they left the petition for him to collect later. We will not stop until this government respects the court’s decision and allows frontline healthcare workers to negotiate the wages they need and deserve.
Amplifying Our Voices
January 6 – Joint Press Conference to Confront the Ford Government to Solve the Healthcare Staffing Crisis
January 27 - Bringing COVID-positive staff back to work early is a dangerous way to deal with a staffing crisis
We asked the provincial government to rescind a new pandemic guidance order that created an unacceptable risk for hospital patients, long-term care residents and healthcare staff. The guidance order allowed employers to order potentially sick or still infectious healthcare workers with COVID-19 back to work.
Premier Ford’s government refused to listen, and frontline workers continued to pay the price.
Together we demanded that the government show real commitment to providing adequate funding for our healthcare system. We called on each level of government to do their part in ensuring everyone in Canada has universal access to public healthcare.
We used this information to call on Premier Ford’s government to provide emergency support. With inflation on the rise, surpassing any wage increases, PSWs deserve much more than a three-dollar wage enhancement.
Our President wrote to Ontario’s provincial parties just days before they met to discuss legislation addressing the health human resources crisis and fair wages for PSWs. Her letter included five provisions that they can work on to create a fair bill for PSWs and the future of healthcare.
June 24 - Showing Solidarity and Support for Reproductive Rights in the US
SEIU International represents two-million members in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to roll back reproductive healthcare rights, we called on Prime Minister Trudeau to provide refuge for anyone who needed it from the U.S.
We will continue to stand in solidarity with all Americans who continue the fight for the right to choose.
The Ministry of Long-Term Care implemented the ban in June 2021, which is still in place due to poor management. We offered the County solutions to help fix their issues to help open their doors once again, and they ignored us.
November 24 - Five Largest Healthcare Unions Join Forces, Make SOS Appeal To Save Our Public Hospitals
November 29 – Meeting with Jagmeet Singh
Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh met with President Sharleen Stewart at our Mural office to discuss the priorities for our members and the Ontario healthcare system.
Singh talked about how Ford is pushing our public healthcare system to collapse and said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must lead by example and follow through on his commitments to support workers.
SEIU Healthcare Nursing Division President Jackie Walker and SEIU Healthcare member Donna Thomas were part of a press conference at Queen’s Park with leaders and members from CUPE, Unifor, OPSEU and ONA. They told the Ford government to respect the court’s recent decision that made Bill 124 unconstitutional and not appeal it – with the deadline for them to appeal being December 30, 2022.
Each union spoke about the Bill’s impact on our healthcare system and how it’s been a major contributing factor to the retention and recruitment crisis. All those who attended wore a “Bill 124 NO MORE” sticker. We delivered a Christmas card to Doug Ford, that said, “all we want for Christmas is for you to not appeal the Bill 124 decision”. To stand in solidarity with our messaging, hundreds of hospital workers wore the sticker in their workplaces.