Health-care workers to deliver ‘all-we-want-for-Christmas’ card to Ford Tuesday

Health-care workers will be delivering a large “all-we-want-for-Christmas” holiday card to Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday at Queen’s Park.

Hospital nurses, personal support workers, cleaners, paramedical staff, and union representatives from Ontario’s five largest health care unions are set to make the special delivery today at 10:30 a.m.

In show of silent solidarity, hospital workers across the province will also be wearing “Bill 124 NO MORE” stickers today.

The main message is “Respect the Bill 124 decision; don’t appeal” as hospitals in Ontario grapple with “high patient levels, too low staffing, and the continuing exodus of co-workers.”

On Nov. 29, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice declared Bill 124, which caps pay increases at 1 per cent or three years for public sector workers, unconstitutional.

Health-care workers want the Premier to accept the court’s decision and drop a “costly and disrespectful appeal that will result in more health care staff leaving their jobs.” The deadline to appeal the court ruling is Dec. 29.

Last month, CUPE, SEIU, ONA, OPSEU/SEFPO, and Unifor came together to call on Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones to adopt their five-point plan to stabilize the Ontario’s “crashing health care system and retain exhausted staff.”

It includes respect workers by scrapping Bill 124 and allowing collective bargaining to determine wage rates to stabilize staffing levels, boosting frontline staffing by providing responsive incentives to the current workforce and return-to-work incentives for those who have left, relieving administrative pressure by hiring new hospital support staff, investing in people, not profit, by restricting the use of private health care staffing agencies, and stopping privatization by committing to invest all new funding in public hospitals.

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