About 100 workers from Marshall Gowland Manor in Sarnia were out in force in front of the Lambton County building Wednesday to pressure the management of the long term care home to come to the bargaining table to reach a contract.
The 190 members of Unifor Local 302 have been without a contract since March and officials say there are no negotiations scheduled.
Rusty Sproule says one of the biggest issues for the local, which includes personal support workers, registered practical nurses, dietary, and maintenance workers, is wages. PSWs received a temporary $3 an hour wage increase from the province during the pandemic. Unifor wants that to be permanent.
It’s also looking for a similar increase for RPNs, whose wage is now not much higher than PSWs receiving the $3/hour increase.
Sproule says Unifor has been able to reach agreements with other long term care homes in southwestern Ontario meeting those demands without an issue.
He added he felt there was such a good turnout for the protest – which started on Broadway Street at 7:30 am – because the workers are aware some managers at the county building have seen their wages increase $40,000 in the last two years and that, he says, makes the lack of negotiations worse.