15th Annual Health Care Stewards’ Conference
The 15th Annual Health Care Steward’s Conference brought 100 stewards together from retirement, nursing, and long-term care homes as well as community care centres across the province.
President Shawn Haggerty spoke to the delegates about the need for political action to maintain and improve our health care system. He noted that the Local Union was celebrating the week of May 8 – 14 as National Nurses’ Week and that May 19th is PSW Day. He thanked all of the health care Members for their hard work and compassion.
A presentation from Joan Tanaka of PBAS followed to provide detailed information on understanding pensions. Joan spoke about the different types of pension plans and the importance of contributing to a workplace pension and your personal savings.
Tim Deelstra, Engagement & Media Relations Strategist for Local 175, gave an overview of how our Local Union stacks up against others in terms of the services we provide. He asked the delegates for their opinions on how we can better reach out to Members and represent their interests to the broader public.
In the afternoon of day one, Stewards attended two workshops. Fernando Reis, Director of Local 175’s Legal Department, and Legal Counsel Roberto Henriquez led members in a discussion about grievance settlements. Mary Shawn and Chris Watson from the Local Union’s Health & Safety Department worked with Stewards in the second workshop on new member orientation.
Day two saw the Stewards split into two town hall forums. The panels addressing the Members’ questions included Union Reps, Health & Safety Reps, Workers’ Compensation Reps and Legal Counsel.
A number of questions were brought forth in the Retirement & Long-Term Care forum. This included WSIB coverage for illness due to outbreak, coping with the increased number of mental health issues facing the Members at work, and new or pending laws to better protect Health Care workers against violence in the workplace.
Other concerns addressed pay equity, representation at the college of nurses, employer obligations to provide modified work, and the right to refuse care to aggressive/violent residents.
Stewards in the Community Health forum had a number of questions for their panel too. They asked whether it was possible for integrated agencies to share experience among other bargaining units and how to best navigate partnerships with other Union and non-union agencies offer services and programs to our clients. Some asked for more detail on the role played by the HOPE Sector Executive Board in terms of representing Members’ interests.
Other questions dealt with how to support workers in a field where leaves of absence are the norm and where employers do not increase staff, which leads to increased workload and burnout of the remaining staff.
The conference wrapped up with a quick feedback session before the Stewards went on their way. Thank you to all who attended for making this year’s Health Care Stewards Conference another great success.
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