Monday, September 26, 2005

"It's like Bangladesh, and it's right here in Canada."

Welcome to Canada where bureaucrats and union leaders reign. If you get sick here, you'll be treated to long line ups, SARS and filth:

A housekeeper at MSA General Hospital in Abbotsford says work slowdowns orchestrated by the Hospital Employees Union may be affecting the well-being of patients.

"What the union is telling you that your mom and dad are not being affected is wrong. The essential service levels are there, yes, but what are the essential service levels? You clean the toilet because there is feces and urine there, yes, but not the floor? With elderly people much of the time, it is there on the floor," said one distraught housekeeper, who called the Times to share her concerns but didn't want to be identified.

"We're just supposed to mop, but not clean. If the patient is having a bath, we clean the bath beds but not the dirty wheelchair. I can't go into work and pretend I'm not working," said the HEU member.

[..] On Sept. 12, the HEU began job action at MSA General, Mission Memorial and Eagle Ridge hospitals and at several Vancouver Coastal Health Authority sites. Eleven hundred members have been holding study sessions and withdrawing services in order to pressure employer Sodexho Canada to raise their employees' wages.

However, before any job action was taken, minimum acceptable levels had to be determined under the guidance of the Labour Relations Board and both union and employer must abide by them, said Richard Longpre, Sodexho negotiator and a former vice-chairman of the Labour Relations Board.

[..] He said it was not unusual for issues to arise once job action starts and then both parties are expected to work out the issues. If they can't resolve them, they must go back to the LRB to be worked out, Longpre said.

"I can assure you there are daily conversations between the HEU and Sodexho. A number of issues are accumulating and I suspect there will be a meeting [with the LRB] in a day or two," said Longpre.
In the meantime, the patients must put up with urine and shit, because they are allowed no alternatives.
On the point of wages, the housekeeper who called in agreed with the HEU that $10.15 an hour is not enough of a wage on which to raise a family.

"It's better for you to be on welfare, with three children, to be able to feed the family. How in God's green earth is a woman supposed to survive? It's like Bangledesh, and it's right here in Canada."
I am ashamed to reside in a country where it is more profitable to collect welfare than to make an honest day's wage.


Anonymous said...

Oh yes, Canada is a caring nation alright. It's just that we care more about the fit and the strong than the weak and sick. 'Cause if we don't give the fit and the strong whatever they want, they won't work on our election campaigns, and they'll beat us up and threaten our families if we try to fire them.

Publius said...

As someone who paid their way through school doing work similar, though usually not quite as bad as cleaning shit off the floor, I can only express my contempt for the unions. I would have been fired for not having the facilities clean, and I mean clean, day in and out.

$10.15 is actually enough to raise a family on, if both parents are working. I was raised on less for a considerable period of time. I am also familiar with the employer and can tell you that they pay market rates for their labour. Many of the junior managers make only $16 an hour, the supervisors about $13.

I was recently speaking to a Sodexho manager and one of their biggest problems is personnel turnover. I asked why wages weren't raised to prevent this from happening and he replied that there was little point. The only way to reduce the turnover would be to increase the wages to about $17 for entry level cleaners, roughly the starting wage for many construction positions.

The labour performed simply isn't worth more than 10 to 11 an hour. The union will at best get another few cents an hour, probably not enough to compensate for the wages lost. Most of the union members will have found other better paid positions if the strike lasts more than a week or two. The labour force in cleaning is extremely fluid. This is nothing more than an excercise in power for the union. The workers will gain nothing from this and the elderly will suffer horribly.

Anonymous said...

London is a big city trying to be a hick town.

That excuse of a newspaper, the Piss Press is a classic example.

I'd love to see a mob burn down that edifice of mediocrity.

Pietr said...

I like the cut of its jib!
I used to deliver to several Sodhexos, but over here they run restaurants, not care homes.