Toronto – April 4, 2020 – Thinking back a few weeks ago, before the COVID-19 outbreak became a global pandemic, many of us had a long list of things that we needed to get done.
Dear MAHCP members,
It’s been another trying week as the COVID-19 pandemic hits home here in Manitoba.
I want to share with you the joint statement issued today by MAHCP and the Manitoba Nurses Union.
We felt this statement was necessary in response to a truly insulting letter we received yesterday from Health Minister Cameron Friesen. Please click here to read it.
I suspect the Premier shares Minister Friesen’s sentiments. When asked today at a press conference why health care workers on mandated self-isolation are being asked to use their own sick time and vacation time, the Premier called your benefits “generous” and said “this isn’t the time for unions to try to advocate for additional non-existing benefits.”
There is no more important time than now to be fighting for the protections and supports you deserve, and we will continue to do so.
Please stay safe and let us know how we can help.
Bob Moroz, MAHCP President
On Wednesday, it was confirmed that an MGEU member who works at the Garden City Square Liquor Mart tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
"We need to take care of our health — including our mental health. Music is a beautiful salve for worry and anxiety." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Toronto – April 3, 2020 – Health care workers at the Forestview Retirement Residence in Toronto are the newest members of UFCW Local 175 after recently voting to join the union.
April 3, 2020
LONDON — Unifor is calling on London Health Science Centre (LHSC) to immediately provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to all health care workers, regardless of their occupation.
“We are not going to flatten the curve by picking and choosing which health care workers receive personal protective equipment,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We know COVID-19 is now spread through community transmission and it’s mind boggling to see LHSC pick and choose who they will protect on the job when they have a responsibility to provide PPE to every worker, regardless of what task they perform in the hospital or their occupation.”
Over the past week Unifor has held daily conference calls with LHSC management and has reiterated the union’s position that regardless of your job title in hospital, workers on their way into the facility through the screening process should receive an mask.
“The argument that some workers have no chance of being exposed to COVID-19 is simply false,” said Brian Chapman, President of Unifor Local 27. “In a time of crisis LHSC needs to stop these dangerous games and put workers first.”
Recognizing the global shortage and increasing demand for PPE, Unifor’s positon is that the priority of governments and hospital administration should be in securing PPE from other industries in less urgent need and not on hoarding PPE, or otherwise refusing access to PPE for workers at risk, on the frontlines.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
Information about the union’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at unifor.org/COVID19.
For further information: contact Hamid Osman, Unifor National Communications Representative at 647-448-2823 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org
April 3, 2020
TORONTO – Unifor is urging federal ministers to close the gaps in new emergency income programs, so that no worker is left behind.
“Canada’s workers need access to emergency benefits. The programs put forward show a commitment to support unemployed workers, but still leaves too many questions unanswered,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “When this system opens for applications on April 6, it must be fully universal and leave no worker worse off, as they grapple with the long-term financial challenge of this viral pandemic.”
In a letter sent on Friday , April 3 to Minister Carla Qualtrough, the union requested assurances that workers can receive Supplementary Unemployment Benefits under Employment Insurance rules and that seasonal workers qualify for emergency benefits, among other asks.
“Millions of workers have applied for financial support from the federal government in the past two weeks. This is because they need those funds to provide the necessities to survive,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director.
Unifor seeks assurances that new CERB and EI rules must expand eligibility for students, newcomers and people facing injury or disability, workers caring for those who are immunocompromised, and ensure a seamless transition to regular EI benefits, once the emergency benefits expire, with no waiting period or other claw back.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For media inquiries or to arrange a Skye or FaceTime interview with Jerry Dias, please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell).
Five unions representing health care workers providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic are calling on government and employers to sign onto a safety protocol that would ensure these frontline workers feel protected and supported during this unprecedented time.
The NSGEU, NSNU, CUPE, Unifor and IUOE jointly agreed to this protocol, which is similar to protocols that have recently been adopted by the provincial government and employers in Alberta and Ontario. On Monday, the protocol was sent to Premier Stephen McNeil, Health & Wellness Minister Randy Delorey, Chief Medical Officer Robert Strang, as well as Dr. Brendan Carr at the NSHA and Dr. Krista Jangaard at the IWK.
So far, government and employer representatives have not agreed to sign the document.
Our frontline health care workers deserve the same level of respect, peace of mind and protection that is being provided to health care workers in other parts of this country.
We understand that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in short supply worldwide, but this protocol strikes a balance between protecting both our supply and our frontline workers; by protecting them it would ensure they remain healthy and able to treat the sick.
We are doing our best to work cooperatively with government at this time of crisis, reaffirming our commitment to the Good Neighbour Protocol in 2009 and working with our members to help provide care during this difficult time. We need government to meet us half way.
America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Demands Amazon Fire Senior Leadership Responsible for Shameful Conduct
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 1.3 million workers in food and retail, responded to a shocking Vice News story that documents both the ruthless smear campaign against Christian Smalls, the Amazon warehouse worker who organized this week’s safety strike, as well as the high level discussions between Amazon executives on how to best utilize surgical masks for public relations value.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:
“In the middle of a global pandemic with thousands of Americans sick and dying, today we learned that Amazon’s senior leaders – including CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon SVP of Global Affairs Jay Carney, and Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky – were more focused on attacking one of their own workers than actually keeping their employees safe.
“Even worse, these same senior Amazon leaders weighed ‘different and bold’ ways to gain a public relations ‘win’ from their stockpile of surgical masks – masks that are desperately needed by frontline workers and first responders who are putting themselves in harm’s way every day during this unprecedented public health crisis.
“Every American should be outraged by this conduct. Not only should Amazon’s senior leadership be investigated by law enforcement and federal regulators for these shameful actions, every Amazon executive responsible for this stunning conduct, beginning with Mr. Zaplosky, should be immediately fired.”
UFCW has been a leading national voice calling for greater accountability of Amazon and its worker mistreatment. In December 2018, the retail branch of UFCW launched acampaign to unionize Amazon warehouse workers at the same Staten Island fulfillment center where this week’s strike took place.
In February 2020, UFCW called Amazon’s new cashierless grocery store “a clear and present danger to millions of good jobs.” In July 2019, UFCW announced its opposition to a $700 million effort by Amazon to push its own workers out of jobs as it relentlessly automates its warehouse operations. And in May 2019, UFCW called out Amazon for using robots to replace thousands of its workers across the country.
The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW’s work during COVID-19 at ufcw.org/coronavirus.
Earlier this week, MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky sent a letter to the Finance Minister to help anyone who contracts the virus at work. The letter echoes the call from the Manitoba Federation of Labour for the provincial government and Workers Compensation of Manitoba (WCB) to provide presumptive coverage for all Manitoba workers who may become infected with COVID-19 through the course of their employment.
The COVID-19 pandemic is ramping up as expected in Manitoba. All MAHCP members are under incredible stress right now, and we know the situation will get worse before it gets better. I want to thank you for your commitment to keeping yourselves, your patients and your colleagues safe in this difficult time.
We are now seeing confirmed cases of community transmission in Manitoba, and we’re beginning to see front-line health care staff, including a small number of MAHCP members, testing positive for COVID-19. This isn’t cause for panic. We know health care professionals are at greater risk, and that’s why we’ve been fighting hard on your behalf for the Employer and the Manitoba Government to step up and make sure you’re protected and supported. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be listening.
MAHCP has called on the Manitoba Government to provide paid leave for members who have to miss work because they have to self-isolate or have unavoidable child care issues. For those who contract COVID-19, we’ve called on Government to provide presumptive WCB coverage – you’re at risk because of the work you do, so they should assume you contracted the virus at work unless proven otherwise.
We’re asking MAHCP members to add your voice to these demands by emailing the Premier and Minister of Health at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org with this email content, or you can write your own email and share your concerns and calls for action.
If you want to go one step further, you can write or call your MLA:
The more members they hear from, the more they will have to listen to us. Meanwhile, we will continue pushing for these and other measures, including adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to make sure you’re properly protected and supported.
As always, please stay safe and let us know if you have any questions or concerns by contacting your Labour Relations Officer or email@example.com.
Bob Moroz, MAHCP President