Coping with COVID-19
Three CLAC members share their personal stories of how the pandemic is affecting them at work and home
John (prefers to remain anonymous)
Local 68 member and heavy equipment operator employed by Peace River Hydro Partners at the Site C Clean Energy Project near Fort St. John, BC
As the pandemic began to evolve in its first few days, I asked for a layoff as I needed to be at home. My wife is a family doctor in rural BC, with a compromised immune system.
When I’m away at work, she is also a single mother to our three-year-old daughter. Our daycare centre is now closed, so I have to be at home. When I asked for the layoff, I wanted to be at home to help support my wife and to also not risk bringing home this virus.
As events globally progressed, CLAC released an email stating no worker was obligated to stay and could request a temporary layoff. For that I am thankful and will continue to work CLAC jobs.
I would also like to call on CLAC to make a push into representing the doctors in this province. As an uneducated heavy equipment operator, I should not be able to make as much money as my physician wife with a PhD in medicine. And it’s not right that doctors do not have benefits.
Local 304 member and PSW employed by Roberta Place in Barrie, Ontario
I have been finding myself having mixed feelings every time I work. I miss my family, who live in Toronto, and I won’t see due to the fact that I put myself in danger every time I go to work.
I worry about my residents who fight diseases already. I pray every day for a cure so we can get back to normal life. I try to live day by day but must admit I’m scared.
Local 303 member and registered practical nurse employed by the Chatham Kent Health Alliance in Chatham, Ontario
Let’s start with how COVID has negatively affected my life. My mom was recently diagnosed with cancer, and it’s just my brother and I who care for her. I struggle every day with the worry that one of these times when I go there to care for her that I’m going to give her COVID. That is my biggest fear and worry during this outbreak.
I had to cancel a trip to go visit my son out west that I was looking forward to. He is out there all by himself and is an essential worker. I worry every day that he will get sick and be alone with no family nearby.
There are no visits with our family and kids and sweet grandchildren that all live in the same little village as we do. I’ve watched many of my coworkers become scared and anxious to go to a job that always brought them so much joy.
But on the positive side, I’ve received kinds words and thanks from patients and strangers and family and friends for just going to work. It feels nice to be appreciated by them. This is what I signed up for when I went into healthcare but their kind words help to brighten my day.
I’ve seen businesses and family members of staff have food delivered to the hospital for us, and everyone knows how much nurses like to eat! I’ve seen my work family support one another even more than usual during all of this, and I didn’t think that was possible.
Last but not least, I’ve seen our CLAC reps working tirelessly since COVID started trying their best to calm members’ fears and get us not only answers but solutions. They have even organized a mask drive for our community. It doesn’t matter what day of the week or what time of the day or night they have been here for us.
I can only hope and pray that at the end of this, our society learns things that will prevent this from ever happening again. Stay healthy friends!
We Want to Hear from You!
Each week, we’ll be asking a different question for you to answer about your experience at home or work during the pandemic. Let us know your thoughts and we’ll share them with your fellow members. Just click the question below and you will be taken a webpage where you can easily fill in and submit your answer.
This week’s question: What have you learned about yourself during this pandemic?