SEIU Healthcare Supports Mandatory Vaccinations

Union representing 60,000 healthcare workers supports mandatory vaccinations as a matter of workplace and public safety

RICHMOND HILL, ON, Aug. 19, 2021 /CNW/ – Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, issued the following statement in support of mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers:

“Today, we’re reaffirming our position communicated in recent interviews in support of mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers.

Members of SEIU Healthcare have asked their union to fight for safe workplaces.

In a recent survey, a vast majority of our union members showed support for mandatory vaccinations as a matter of workplace safety.

They told us that vaccinations mean knowing you’re protected and knowing that the person you’re working shoulder to shoulder with is protecting you.

COVID-19 is a killer. The Delta variant is even more deadly. No senior should die because of this virus and not one more healthcare worker should lose their life simply because they went to work.

As soon as shots arrived in Canada, our union worked with educators, doctors, scientists, and researchers to provide the facts about these safe vaccines. We’re proud of the 90-plus per cent of our members who have rolled up their sleeves.

The time has come to vaccinate every person on the frontline of care who can be vaccinated. Doing so helps protect people who cannot be vaccinated, like our young children and the immunocompromised. This is about protecting healthcare workers, as well as the most vulnerable.

SEIU Healthcare is unwavering in our commitment to the safety of our members. Our members have asked us to work with the government on a responsible health human resource strategy that includes clear mandatory vaccination policies and that’s exactly what we’re prepared to do.

The provincial government has a responsibility to protect the lives and livelihoods of every single healthcare worker who was there for us during the pandemic but is unable to get vaccinated for religious or medical reasons.

As a union leader whose paramount duty is to defend the interests of working families, I have called for an end to the failed experiment of for-profit long-term care. I’ve done that not just because those corporations exploit women in the care economy, and not just because they use their backroom connections to lobby against accountability and decent standards, but because evidence shows us that dignified care is cut at the expense of profits. As a result of those dangerous outcomes, we must end long-term care contracts for the real estate industry masquerading as care corporations. Protecting people is the point and delivering quality care must be the mission.

That same conclusion reinforces the need for mandatory vaccinations for healthcare staff, along with an action plan to ensure safe staffing levels for those already neglected by a failed long-term care system. Any plan must include full-time jobs and a universal minimum wage of at least $25 per hour for low-income workers like personal support workers (PSWs) and at least $35 per hour for registered practical nurses (RPNs).”

SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province.

SOURCE SEIU Healthcare

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