Local healthcare workers fighting against ‘sexist and discriminatory legislation’ Bill 124

By Damilola Onime

A group of local healthcare workers, including nurses and long-term care workers, are taking their fight against the province's Bill 124 to the front of MPP Lisa MacLeod's Nepean office on Monday, March 14 to call on the provincial government to repeal the bill immediately. 

Bill 124 introduces a one per cent wage cap legislation for the workers. But they argue that with rising inflation rates, the result of the bill was a four per cent loss in wage last year and another four per cent this year. 

In a statement, Dave Verch, an Ottawa registered practical nurse (RPN) and Eastern Ontario vice-president of CUPE's Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE) said, “The Ford government's wage cap devalues and disrespects a largely female workforce that has made huge personal sacrifices.”

“It cuts our real wages and leaves us with no ability to bargain badly needed mental supports after the trauma of caring for patients and residents through the pandemic.”

The workers are calling on MacLeod to stand with them, not against them, and help to push the government to repeal Bill 124. 

Verch said, “At the root of it, Bill 124 doesn't cover any other emergency personnel, like paramedics, police, and fire – which tend to be male-dominated. It must go or many more nurses, PSWs and other staff will leave their jobs at hospitals and long-term care homes which are already struggling with staff shortages. 

CUPE says today's protest is the first in a series of demonstrations planned at Conservative MPP's offices across the province in the coming weeks. Other protests will be held in Brockville, NorthBay, Pickering, Brampton, Milton, Mississauga, Burlington, Peterborough, Kenora, Stratford, Port Hope, Newmarket, Barrie, and Niagara. 

Ottawa's protest is scheduled for today at 11 a.m.


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