Northern Ontario health-care workers participate in protest against pandemic pay inequality
The protests in North Bay and Sudbury were both indoor protests, where the staff demonstrated their frustration by wearing stickers that said, “It takes a team to care.” In Sault Saint Marie, protestors took to the streets to get their point across. (Lori-Anne Little/CTV News)
NORTH BAY -- There is a divide among health-care workers, says the unions representing them in Ontario.
In April, Premier Doug Ford announced the province would give health-care workers on the frontlines battling COVID-19 an additional $4 an hour “pandemic pay.”
But not all health-care workers are eligible for the pay increase.
This has many health-care workers feeling left out said Cathy Humalaki, president of UNIFOR 1359.
“The pandemic pay should have been a positive, but actually what he’s done is he’s split the hospital and it’s destroying the team," Humalaki said. "You can’t just pick and choose one person out of the hospital team to pay and one not to. So it’s caused a lot of problems.”
CUPE vice-president Michael Hurley said the prioritization of some staff over others shows “the provincial government has yet to recognize the valuable contribution the health-care workers, particularly in the hospitals, are making.”
Hurely said COVID has added a lot of stress to health care workers and that “there’s already a lot of anxiety and we are trying to sustain a workforce with good moral to get ready for completing this phase of COVID and facing the one that’s coming soon.”
The protests in North Bay and Sudbury were both indoor protests, where the staff demonstrated their frustration by wearing stickers that said, “It takes a team to care.” In Sault Saint Marie, protestors took to the streets to get their point across.