“It appears that home support staff earning as little as $12.88 per hour in Canada are being asked to pay the price for Extendicare’s business decisions in the U.S.,” says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President.
Ottawa (10 Sept. 2014) — ParaMed Home Health Care’s reluctance to achieve a deal with front line staff in Renfrew County may be the result of company losses in the United States.
Striking home care workers taking a stand against ParaMed's low-wage strategy
The mostly low-wage staff at the home care agency has been without a raise in almost four years. ParaMed is insisting the pay freeze be extended to five years.
“If I were the Health Minister, I would be reviewing all of ParaMed’s contracts in this province,” says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the 130,000-member Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE). “At a time when the province is recognizing the importance of retaining a skilled home care workforce, ParaMed is seeking take-aways from the workers’ collective agreements.”
The 110 unionized staff at the Renfrew home care agency have been on strike since September 2 forcing the Champlain Community Care Access Centre to reassign clients to other health care providers.
Extendicare, ParaMed's parent company, seems to be making up losses from U.S. operations on the backs of Canadian home care workers
Extendicare, ParaMed’s parent company, reported $16.4 million net in after-tax profit for its Canadian operations in 2013. The company reported a loss of $11.1 million south of the border.
“It appears that home support staff earning as little as $12.88 per hour in Canada are being asked to pay the price for Extendicare’s business decisions in the U.S.,” says Thomas.
Extendicare also recently negotiated a $42.2 million settlement with the U.S. government over alleged violations of the U.S. Social Security Act thus placing the company under greater financial pressure.
ParaMed walked away from the bargaining table last Friday extending the length of the strike. OPSEU/NUPGE says it is willing to return to the bargaining table at any time.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE