PSW strikers have friend, ally in MPP Norm Miller
BRACEBRIDGE – Personal support workers who have been on the picket line in Gravenhurst and Muskoka this week, have friend and ally at Queen’s Park.
Now in the second week of a personal support workers (PSWs) strike, Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, says he is concerned that the strike is going under the radar during the busy holiday season.
“I’m surprised the strike is not getting more attention in the mainstream media,” said Miller, noting that while local media is covering the strike actively, major newspapers like the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail have not done the same. “There hasn’t been an article on the strike in the Toronto Star since December 13th.
“It’s unfortunate that this strike is not getting the attention it deserves from the media and from the government,” Miller said in a news release Thursday.
The 4,500 PSWs have been on strike since December 11th, affecting 48,000 of people who depend on PSWs for their homecare (according to the union, SEIU Healthcare). PSWs make 15$/hour and have not seen a wage increase in 5 years, amounting to a 7% wage cut when inflation and the cost of living are taken into account.
“PSWs have been picketing outside my office over the past week. I have had a chance to meet with them and with some of their clients,” said Miller. “I am very concerned that vulnerable people, including seniors, are no longer receiving much needed care while the strike is going on.”
“The priorities of this government seem out of whack,” stated Miller, “Just last week the Auditor General reported on outrageous salaries at OPG, where 62% of employees make over $100,000 a year, and here we have important caregivers struggling to get by, and providing some of societies’ most vulnerable people with vital homecare and support.”
Miller called on the Health Minister to ensure that Red Cross Care Partners and SEIU Healthcare return to the bargaining table, and is hopeful that a swift and fair resolution can be reached by both parties.
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