Kitchener, Ont. – September 21, 2017 – Over 170 workers at Paramed in Kitchener, Ontario are the newest members of UFCW Canada Local 175 after recently voting to join the union.
The Paramed members work as registered nurses, registered practical nurses, and home care workers servicing the Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge areas.
They joined the union to address inequalities in the workplace, as one group of workers was receiving better wages and benefits than the other, and shifts were also being scheduled unequally. The home care workers – who are required to travel between homes – also stated that they were not being paid for all of their travel time, and were sent home without pay when clients cancelled at the last minute.
“This employer was making it very difficult for workers to improve their position. Workers were expected to quit one group before they could apply to the other, better-paid group,” says UFCW Canada Local 175 Organizer Ali Farman. “And when they did that, there was no guarantee or even reassurance that they would be rehired to the other group. This left the workers with little hope for advancement,” he adds.
The Paramed employees also said that favouritism and preferential scheduling were major issues in the workplace, and when they tried to complain to management about these issues, their complaints were treated as insubordination.
“The Paramed members now stand united with their union to demand respect from their employer, and UFCW Local 175 is going to stand with them to achieve that goal,” says Shawn Haggerty, the President of UFCW Canada Local 175. “I would like to congratulate and welcome the new members to UFCW,” he adds.