Nfld. & Labrador

NAPE hosts home care workers conference as negotiations loom

About 80 home care workers from across the province were in St. John's for a conference this week.
NAPE will run two new commercials that show home care workers on the job to raise the profile of this profession. The image above is taken from one ad, which will show a home care worker helping a senior who was disabled in an accident. (Courtesy: NAPE)

About 80 home care workers from across the province were in St. John's for a conference this week.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) hosted the event on Thursday and Friday, with a focus on preparations for upcoming collective bargaining with the government.

Sharing knowledge and experiences with other home care workers and launching a public relations campaign about this profession were also focuses of the conference.

Collective agreements for all home care workers expire soon in this province. NAPE will represent over 4,000 home care workers in the coming negotiations.

"It's really important that people understand the value of the work of home care workers," said Carol Furlong, president of NAPE.

"They are people in the community who provide a very valuable service, but don't really get recognized for the kind of work that they're providing to people."

Furlong wants the government and public to recognize this need so the industry can gain better funding.

"Right now we see that it's a fairly stagnant kind of industry because the wages are so low and there are very few benefits," said Furlong.

He wants to make the industry more attractive to work in "so that you know you have a stable work environment and you have an ability to recruit workers and to retain workers in that industry."

The public relations campaign titled "Home Care, it's everyone's concern," will illustrate the services that home care workers provide and directly call on the provincial government to increase funding.

There will be two videos used in the campaign. One will show a senior who has a disability as a result of an accident. The other will feature a young child with many disabilities and a significant need for care.

"Home care is probably the fastest growing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. I think that everyone really recognizes that there is quite a need," said Furlong. "We want people to understand that there has to be some value placed on that."