WINCHESTER – Decrying constant staff shortages and a shortfall of provincial funding, CUPE-represented Dundas Manor employees hit the streets last week.

In Sweet Corner Park Wed., Dec. 11, countless employees were out in the force to get the message out, all of this despite the sudden winter storm that hit the region.

“We want to make it clear to everyone in Winchester that we all need to support increasing care time for residents,” Heather Cronin, president for CUPE Local 2991, said. “We must prioritize care for our most vulnerable.”

The longtime Dundas Manor employee represents 81 staff, including registered practical nurses, personal support workers, dietary work, and other employees.

Dundas Manor employees took to Sweet Corner Park in Winchester Wed., Dec. 11 to bring notice of the critical need for PSWs and other healthcare employees.

“[All of them] who are exhausted and demoralized by overwork and understaffing,” Cronin added.

It isn’t a problem specific to just Dundas Manor, however, given that long-term care homes provincewide are struggling to attract and retain staff.

At the Manor, two separate job fairs were hosted earlier in the year in an effort to increase the employee total. While some were hired, the need remains.

“This rally [was] an urgent call for help, increased care and funding. We urge the area MPP [Jim McDonell] to listen,” Charlene Van Dyk, chair of CUPE Ontario’s healthcare workers committee, said.

Early in 2019, CUPE polled thousands of Ontario long-term care staff about their workplace experiences. Depending on where in the province they worked 60 to 75 per cent of them said they are unable to provide residents adequate care.

In Ontario’s April 2019 budget, the Conservatives cut long-term care spending. Home and community care got only $155 million, much less than the $250 million increase the sector had received in recent years.

“These cuts will further compromise the quality of care for residents and take an overworked and exploited workforce to the brink. The starting point is for the government to announce a real increase in funding for long-term care,” Louis Rodrigues, first vice-president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE), said.

Heather Cronin, president for CUPE Local 2991. Uhrig Photos