“The Kenora Jail is the most overcrowded institution in the province, with the lowest officer-to-inmate ratio. The ministry’s announcement gives no timeline for deployment of new staff to Kenora. With so few officers watching over so many inmates, the jail has become a human powder keg. Immediate measures must be taken.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Occupational Health and Safety
The increased prevalence of WFH, and the length of time workers are doing it, raises questions about workers’ legal protections for occupational health and safety (OHS). The intersection of WFH and OHS protection is an underexplored topic that will likely present new legal challenges for workers and unions.
Statement from the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) and the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) on the need for a public inquiry into the killing of 22 people in Nova Scotia in April 2020.
The NUPGE paper released today identifies some of the key considerations that workers and their unions should be thinking about when it comes to WFH — as both a temporary and possibly-permanent arrangement.
If work-from-home (WFH) arrangements become more prevalent in the post-COVID world, they must be a tool to improve equity, not a hindrance.
"Please take a moment to reflect on the loss, to hold your family and loved ones a bit closer tonight, and to remember to stay safe — everyone deserves to come from work safe and sound." — Graeme Johnston.
“The government needs to be encouraging social distancing, not making it a financial penalty for reporting to work as an essential worker.” — Bob Bymoen, SGEU President.
“The bottom line is supply issues are governing the day, not worker health and safety. The government knows that if it were up to inspectors, the precautionary principle would be a foundation in any workplace inspection. But plain and simple, inspectors are not being allowed to do their important jobs.” — Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer
“We must recognize that in this extraordinary, unique, and surreal moment of crisis, workers are experiencing unprecedented mental health injuries arising from work-related stress.” ― Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Our frontline health care workers deserve the same level of respect, peace of mind, and protection that is being provided to health care workers in other parts of this country.
“You can’t provide emergency housing over a video conference. We need to be there to ensure that they get the safe and supportive housing they need.” — Kareen Marshall, OPSEU Community Agencies Sector Chair
NUPGE and HSABC release new research showing higher precautions needed.
In this time of high stress and growing uncertainty, and as people are spending more time in their homes, the risk of domestic violence is high. Employers and governments must ensure the proper protections and additional resources are in place to support victims and survivors of domestic violence.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) are concerned about our members, but also those that don't have the same labour rights and protections in the workplace.
The strength of our health care system rests on our doctors, nurses, health science professionals, allied health workers, EMS personnel, DSWs, PSWs, health care aides, orderlies, cleaners, food service workers and others; to treat patients and keep the broader public safe, they need to be protected.
Top concerns are protecting frontline workers, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing for COVID-19, and wage protection.
"This is a win for seniors as much as it is for workers." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
The National Union and its Component, the Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers (CUBGW), are extending condolences to the families and colleagues of the workers killed at the Molson Coors plant in Milwaukee.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is joining with the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS) to call for the updating of protections for health care workers to ensure that these workers are able to serve the public effectively in the event of a widespread infection.