October 16th, 2018

Seniors shouldn’t be held ransom in labour dispute

By Letter to the Editor on June 12, 2018.

The cursory writing to be found in the Sunday, May 27 Herald concerning the unionized picketing at AgeCare Columbia did no justice to either position. If the Herald wishes to raise the issue of care aides demonstrating by addressing it front and centre in their newspaper, it would seem reasonable to do the subject justice.

It is the opinion of this writer that picket lines are significant and newsworthy, yet only the barest of information is contained in this article. Basic issues and the negative impact of an industrial action on the membership of frontline caregivers and the seniors in their care are not addressed. Neither is there reference given to the rights and responsibilities of trade union acting legitimately in its best traditions on behalf of its members and in the best interests of those individuals in their care.

The readers are left to assume much in this rather one-sided article, namely that management are playing hardball. Either they are bargaining in bad faith or not at all, or they may talk to the negotiating committee at some point, or not. A delayed September meeting, or not – this is wishful thinking indeed. Management, the readers are informed, couldn’t be reached for a response until Monday. In an age of super phones, what a phenomenon! I thought this adversarial mentality died with the industrial age.

This open conflict at Columbia is suggestive of cost-cutting measures and reduced staffing levels falling on the shoulders of caregivers. This creates a domino effect on direct quality care, morale and safety on the floor, especially when coupled with unrealistic management expectations. If this be the case, management, in their haste to apply short-term economics, may wake one day to find there is not a limitless supply of quality caregivers.

The greater point here should not be lost. I strongly suspect it is to be found in the mantra of the health-care aides themselves – the care of seniors in a continually meaningful way. It’s called job satisfaction.

It remains the view of this writer that seniors should not be held to ransom by virtue of overworked caregivers, understaffed floors and troubling staffing schedules.

Gerald Morton


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One Response to “Seniors shouldn’t be held ransom in labour dispute”

  1. phlushie says:

    Great letter GM.. Thank you for the support of the caregivers. It seems that business is out to make money ; not to provide the service they espouse.

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