Local home-care workers and their supporters took their fight to the streets of Barrie on Wednesday afternoon with signs and chants in hopes of drawing attention to what they say is an unfair situation.
Simcoe/Muskoka ParaMed Home Health Care workers protested outside the company’s regional office, located in the south end at 231 Bayview Dr.
At around 3:15 p.m., the protest had about 50 people.
With a strike deadline looming strike on Jan. 27, staff are seeking a 2.5 per cent annual wage increase for for the next three years.
A ParaMed representative told BarrieToday via email this afternoon that while they are committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith with their union partners, they aren’t pleased with the union’s tactics.
“We are disappointed to see the union’s framing of these ongoing negotiations and their exclusion of critical context, including the recent $3 pay increase for all personal support workers, offers of lump sum payments and an agreement on increases to mileage rates,” said the ParaMed representative.
OPSEU/SEFPO Local 393 vice-president Lynne Reilly told BarrieToday the $3 was not from their company.
“That has nothing to do with ParaMed. That was from the Ontario government," she said. "ParaMed refuses to allot us money that we feel we deserve.
“We’re not asking for the moon, but they won’t cross the $20 mark and want to circle all high-paid stuff and give them all lump-sum payments instead of putting them on a grid," Reilly added. "Also, the grid they offered us was less money than we originally negotiated for.”
The most recent contract expired March 31, 2022.
In 2019, workers were given 0.7 per cent increase. In 2020 and 2021, they received a one per cent wage increase.
ParaMed home-care workers, who provide personal care such as bathing and personal hygiene, toileting, dressing, meal preparation and social support to clients who live at home in individual dwellings as well as clients who live in retirement homes across Simcoe and Muskoka, currently earn between $16.67 and $19.70 per hour.
-- With files from Nikki Cole