Temporary Pandemic Pay Leaves Some Staff behind at CKHA
Chatham, ON—While many front-line healthcare workers are relieved they will receive a $4 per hour temporary pay increase during the pandemic, some staff at the Chatham Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) have been left behind.
Over 400 workers employed by CKHA are represented by Southwestern Ontario Healthcare and Service Workers Union, CLAC Local 303. According to the most recent update issued by the province, more than 100 of them will not receive the pandemic pay announced by the Ontario government on April 25.
“We are happy that the government has recognized the value of front-line healthcare staff during this pandemic,” says Mary Ellen Alward, CLAC representative. “But the exclusion of many integral, front-line hospital staff is confusing and extremely disappointing. Many, if not all, of those who are not currently included to receive the additional pay have direct patient care as part of their regular duties.”
The union has been communicating with the province and submitted a list of workers who have been overlooked, but has not received a response from the government yet.
“We are hopeful that these were simple oversights,” says Alward. “We’re urging the government to include these workers as soon as possible.”
All healthcare employees have been under extreme pressure and stress over the last weeks, dealing with the uncertainty of almost daily changes to policies and procedures, staffing challenges, PPE shortages, redeployment from their regular units, lack of childcare, and fear of infecting their loved ones.
CLAC members at CKHA were urged on Friday to reach out to local MPP Rick Nicolls to explain how their position makes them as vulnerable as the listed classifications, and to ask Nicolls to explain why they were not included.
“We are incredibly proud of all healthcare workers across the country who have continued to dedicate themselves to keeping our communities and loved ones safe,” says Alward. “As we celebrate Nurses Week this week, we want our healthcare members to know exactly how appreciated they all are.”