More labour unrest for Personal Support Workers

The union representing about 35 personal support workers in Dryden has applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for conciliation talks.

Workers in Dryden and Thunder Bay affected

The union representing about 35 personal support workers in Dryden has applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for conciliation talks.

Unifor said negotiations between the union and Revera Home Health in Dryden broke down on Monday.

In a news release, Unifor National Respresentative Stephen Boon said, "We exhausted all realistic options to try and find a way to bridge the remaining monetary gap."

Boon said the two parties have met numerous times since October.

"Unfortunately we remain far apart on key items such as wages, contract length and mileage."

Talks resume in Thunder Bay

Boon said the union will also resume conciliation talks in mid-January with Revera for over 25 office and client services staff based in Thunder Bay. That group is still negotiating its first contract.

"We could now be looking at a strike vote by the over 60 Unifor members in both Dryden and Thunder Bay as early as late January if conciliated talks with Revera fail," he said.

Red Cross workers back on the job

Meanwhile, about 20 Personal Support Workers with the Red Cross in Thunder Bay will return to work as their labour dispute goes to arbitration.

Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, says her members face tough working conditions and low wages. (Supplied)

The Service Employees International Union said it will meet with an arbitrator on January 3.

In a news release, SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart said the jobs PSWs perform should be recognized as equals to other healthcare providers.

"Homecare PSWs should be compensated at a level similar to that of their colleagues working in nursing homes and hospitals."