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Fallout from CarePartners' Sudbury closure
SUDBURY -- We have details on the loss of 29 jobs in Sudbury, as a private company called CarePartners closed up its local branch after a five-month lockout of its employees.
It was an end to months of labour dispute that nobody wanted to seem, and local labour leaders and some politicians are unhappy with how it ended.
Jessica Montgomery is one of the home care scheduling employees affected by the layoff.
"This, CarePartners, was my home, and it was a big shock and a big hit to us for sure," said Montgomery.
Pascal Boucher is the area coordinator for United Steelworkers Sudbury office, the union representing the laid off employees.
"It’s very unfortunate that they are taking the work away from the community. It’s an important service that these workers provided and we feel that their clients are going to suffer as a consequence," said Boucher. "We’re very disappointed. I think that during negotiations, our members have been nothing but fair. In fact, conceded to many demands that the employer wanted to achieve during bargaining, and the news that they are moving the work out of our community is something that we’re very upset with."
As a result of the Sudbury CarePartners closure, the scheduling of personal support worker (PSW) visits for the company will be done out of southern Ontario.
"Those jobs will continue to be done somewhere in southern Ontario, where they will pay those women minimum wage, work part-time, no benefits, to do work that needs continuity of care," said Nickel Belt MPP (NDP) France Gelinas.
The worry is about a lack of knowledge of the north.
"You have to know your area to maximize your times so that the PSWs can gain the clients that they are able to see and so that all the patients are serviced correctly," said Montgomery.
"A lot of people have come to me with complaints that the care that they’ve been receiving from homecare has not been co-ordinated in a way that’s been meeting their needs. And the work while they were being locked out was being done in southern Ontario by people who did not understand northern Ontario," said Gelinas.
Montgomery says while it’s not the outcome she wanted, she takes comfort in the fact that many of her now former colleagues have found better jobs already .
"The whole point through this whole process is that I wanted my co-workers to see their worth and I wanted them to realize that they deserved better than they are getting. And some of them have moved on to bigger and better, so I know that they are really realizing their worth," said Montgomery. "We actually are a little bit relieved that we can now go on and rise from this, and we are finding new employers that are willing to take us. There have been some that have reached out and we’re just ready to start our new adventures. It’s bittersweet."
We’ve reached out to the North East Local Health Integration Network, which says it's been told its contract with CarePartners will continue.
CTV News reached out to CarePartners for a statement, but none of the calls were returned.