Public healthcare workers under the UNIFOR umbrella gathered in Victoria Park to show they aren’t willing to take a third consecutive wage freeze.
Hundreds of UNIFOR members from around southwestern Ontario donned red, blew whistles, waved flags, and chanted, all with the hopes of being seen and heard. The group made stops at MP Susan Truppe’s office as well as MPP Deb Matthews’ office.
UNIFOR President Jerry Dias joined the rally, saying that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent “income splitting” policy will help the wealthy and hurt healthcare. The new policy has drawn criticism that it only benefits those earning higher incomes.
“The choice is do you put it into healthcare? Or put it in the pockets of those that already have the most? And he’s chose to put it in the pockets of those that have the most instead of protecting our children.”
President of UNIFOR Local 302 Nancy McMurphy says she hopes the government sees that more money should be spent on healthcare so that employees aren’t seeing cuts like wage freezes.
“This is our way of getting the message out there. Not only to our employers but to the government saying you need to be responsible, you need to fund healthcare properly so that the staff can perform the quality care that they want to provide.”
McMurphy says although Deb Matthews isn’t the health minister anymore, she still plays an important role in negotiations.
“She’s been given a new title, the President of the Treasury Board, so she controls the pursestrings. So who better to go to, to say we need more funding?”
Members were trying to drum up support for another, larger rally at Queen’s Park later this month.