Health Care Conference 2010
April 30, 2010
On April 22 & 23, 2010, Local 175 held its 8th Annual Health Care Conference. Union Representative and former health care professional Marilyn Lang welcomed over 80 participants from nursing homes, retirement homes and community health centres (CHCs). The two-day conference facilitated valuable discussion on a variety of issues facing health care workers today.President Shawn Haggerty opened the conference by thanking the participants for their strong commitment and dedication to their residents and clients. “Our health care workers ensure quality care for our families and friends and I truly thank you for this,” said President Haggerty. Local 175 represents a large portion of the health care sector and is recognized as such. “We devote extra time and resources to health care as it’s a core sector within our Local. The more organized we are in this sector, the more power health care workers have in determining decisions that affect all Ontarians.”
President Haggerty also informed the stewards that Legal Co-coordinator Fernando Reis is acting liaison between the Local and various health care units. Fernando will be information sharing and creating newsletters for individual workplaces as well as a dedicated health care section in each issue of Checkout magazine.
Health & Safety Representative Janice Klenot gave an informative presentation on violence in the workplace. She discussed the importance of the amendments made to Bill 168, which now includes workplace violence and harassment in its definitions. She thoroughly discussed procedures that should be in place by June 15, the day the bill takes effect, and the responsibility of the employer to ensure these procedures are upheld.
“Workplace violence is all too common in health care. Everyone should be aware of their rights as a worker and this absolutely includes the right to be physically safe at work,” she said.
The conference also welcomed guest speaker France Gélinas, NDP MPP for the Nickel Belt. She spoke to the Stewards about the state of health care in Ontario. She discussed the necessity for improvements to Ontario’s home-care system and initiatives focusing on disease prevention and healthy living – instead of cuts that will ultimately decimate health care in our province.
This year’s conference introduced Town Hall discussions – one for those who work in retirement and nursing facilities and one for our members working in CHCs – which brought out helpful dialogue between members who share common issues in their workplaces. Also, a special seminar for all conference participants explored emotional intelligence. This seminar aimed to help members work through various issues with co-workers, patients, clients and management. As health care is one of the most stressful sectors, this seminar focused on communication and the ability to recognize differences among people and resolve problems efficiently so workers can continue providing the best care possible.
Other workshops included Unions and Politics, Return to Work and Bullying in the Workplace.