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LETTER: Province's treatment of front-line workers a 'stain on our society'

Reader says all workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect when it comes to paid sick days
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Our governments say that our front-line workers are heroes. So why don’t they treat them as such?

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our country’s essential workers – be they health-care workers, PSWs, grocery store workers, etc. – have put their own lives on the line in order to take care of the needs of others in our community.

That is the very definition of heroic.

Too bad they are being treated more like hostages.

Doug Ford said at a recent press conference that people should stay home if they are sick.

Unfortunately, thanks to the premier and his government, hundreds of thousands of workers – including many health-care workers – don’t have paid sick days. If they are sick or need to take care of a sick loved one, they can’t afford to stay home. They must work.

That is a shame and a stain on our society.

All workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect – they deserve at least seven paid sick days on a permanent basis, with an additional 14 days of emergency leave during crises like the one we are currently facing. This should be considered the bare minimum.

This crisis has laid bare just how essential workers are in our society.

And it’s also laid bare how inadequate our supports for workers actually are. Wages are too low, precarious work is becoming the norm, temporary workers are taken advantage of routinely, many workers still lack fair scheduling, while part-time workers are not treated the same as full-time workers doing the same job.

As thousands of workers return to their jobs with the reopening of retail stores and other businesses, let’s recognize the sacrifices they are making and commit to fighting with them for better wages, workplace protections and supports.

Let’s do better – for them, our communities and our province. It’s the least we can do.

Michael Speers
$15 and Fairness Barrie