Temporary pandemic pay hike leaves behind CKHA staff: CLAC

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(photo Chatham Voice)

More than 100 staff  at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance will not receive pandemic pay announced by the Ontario government on April 25, according to their union.

More than 400 workers employed by CKHA are represented by Southwestern Ontario Healthcare and Service Workers Union, CLAC Local 303.

Many front-line healthcare workers will receive a $4-per-hour temporary pay increase during the pandemic, however, some staff at CKHA have been left behind, they said.

“We are happy that the government has recognized the value of front-line health-care staff during this pandemic,” Mary Ellen Alward, CLAC representative, said. “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 said it has not received a response from the government yet.

“We are hopeful that these were simple oversights,” Alward said. “We’re urging the government to include these workers as soon as possible.”

All health-care employees have been under extreme pressure and stress over the last several 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, according to the union.

CLAC members at CKHA were urged recently to reach out to local MPP Rick Nicholls to explain how their position makes them as vulnerable as the listed classifications, and to ask Nicholls to explain why they were not included.

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