“Enough is enough. It’s time to listen to those who provide the hands-on, life-giving care for our most vulnerable neighbours and family members." — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (30 Sept. 2015) — The President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) Michelle Gawronsky, along with activists and staff who represent MGEU's Prairie Mountain Health members, met with Health Minister Sharon Blady to discuss ongoing safety concerns and staff shortages in the region’s more than 30 personal care facilities. They delivered 1,000 postcards signed by health care support workers and supporters who are concerned about both the safety of workers, and the safety of the people they care for.
“Morale is at an all-time low,” said Gawronsky. “For far too long, management at these facilities has refused to hear our concerns.”
MGEU health care support workers raise health and safety concerns due to low staffing levels
In early June, hundreds of health care support workers rallied in Dauphin and Brandon to draw attention to pressing problems in their workplaces, including a lack of experienced staff caring for patients due to multiple unfilled positions.
“Our members are using back-up hoyer lifts to transfer vulnerable patients in and out of bed because the proper ceiling lifts are broken and have not been usable for months,” Gawronsky said. “These are the kinds of critical front-line issues that are often dealt with through the grievance process, or labour-management meetings. But in Prairie Mountain, our members feel that no matter what they do, management isn’t interested.”
Health and safety issues affect patients and workers
Due to lack of staffing and faulty locks, a number of dementia patients have wandered away from a Neepawa facility in the last year or so, something workers say could have, and should have, been prevented.
“Enough is enough. It’s time to listen to those who provide the hands-on, life-giving care for our most vulnerable neighbours and family members,” Gawronsky said. “Fill those positions. Fix those lifts. Ensure people are safe. It’s not too much to ask.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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