Minister lacks respect

By Nicole Neufeld, The StarPhoenix

This letter appeared on November 2, 2009

Re: Union criticizes essential services law (SP, Oct. 27). As a special care aide at a long-term care facility, I think it’s ridiculous for Health Minister Don McMorris to assume that patients could travel to another nearby facility for the services they require.

Those who live in nursing homes don’t have that choice. Staffing levels at long-term homes too often are low, and excessive overtime a reality. For McMorris to imply that our letters were not based on factual events is yet another insult to us.

The essential services law means that I cannot participate in any form of strike action, even after performing all duties including non-essential ones, or on my days off. This is a major violation of my charter rights. The law is only to weaken our bargaining process.

Long-term care is not acknowledged by the health regions or the media as a major part of our health-care system. If registered nurses are valued by our government due to the hands-on time they spend with hospital patients, why not the special care aides — the majority in the Service Employees International Union West who provide most of the hands-on care in long-term care?

Our government does not value the members of SEIUWest, and even the Health minister does not seem to value our elderly and disabled loved ones who live in care homes.

Nicole Neufeld


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