Nurses Campaign for Equity

In late 2019, the Provincial Government passed a law that limited salary increases for workers in the Public sector to 1% per year for three years.   Not too terrible (more below) but it exempted Firefighters and Police officers which are predominantly male while Nurses who are predominantly female are not exempt.  Given their role in the current fight against the pandemic, Nurses are not happy and the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) LOCAL 105 decided to have a day of action.  They campaigned outside the Port Hope Office of MPP David Piccini and their spokesperson Sarah Cowin had a meeting with David.  I counted about 16 demonstrators although some were representing Gay Pride – I’m not sure what the connection is.

Nurses campaign
Nurses’ campaign

It’s currently easy to be supportive of first-line health workers and I would think most people would be supportive of paying them well but a report in the National Post by Randall Denley pointed to some interesting background details:

Randall said that:

  • Nurses get $4/hour extra from late April to late August for pandemic pay
  • Acute care nurses start at a little under $59,000 a year rising to about $71,000 after 5 years and $85,000 after 25 years.
  • Nurses asked for a 2 % raise and an arbitrator said he would have awarded 1.75% if the Province’s law had not been in place.

This means that, if Randall has his facts straight, Nurses are campaigning for a general increase of 0.75%. (See Link below for the full National Post article).

Also, Nurses working at the Hospital would be affected by the law but Cobourg’s and Port Hope’s Police and Firefighters would not since they are Municipal employees.

But the bigger issue is no doubt that the new law seems to imply that nurses are not deserving of an increase while Police and Firefighters are.  Further, this seems to be related to gender given the predominance of women in the Nursing profession.

In fact, their statement on the subject says:

This Day of Action has been called to bring attention to the Ontario Government’s unfair attack on women by not exempting Ontario’s predominantly female nurses from Bill 124, as it did for similar male-dominated frontline professions such as police and firefighters, thus forcing this wage suppression legislation of 1% for each of the next 3 years. This unfair labour practice will only continue to widen the pay equity gap for Ontario’s nurses.

It seems that the Nurses are not explicitly campaigning for a salary increase but instead want Nurses to also be exempt under the legislation – that is, equality of the rules with Police and Firefighters.  But if there were equality, they would get an extra 0.75% – they are not allowed to strike; they must accept an arbitrator’s ruling.

Here’s a short video of their “action”.

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Informed
21 June 2020 8:21 pm

Off topic but check out the video of Woodbine Beach in Toronto as thousands pack the beach with little to no social distancing. I would copy the link if i knew how.🙂

Informed
Reply to  Informed
21 June 2020 8:23 pm

Council should watch the video provided by the Sun before they cave into pressure to open our beach.

Bryan
Reply to  Informed
21 June 2020 9:27 pm

This isn’t the SUN video but it shows much the same thing.

https://www.blogto.com/city/2020/06/summer-weather-brings-big-crowds-woodbine-beach-toronto/

Melissa
21 June 2020 1:23 pm

I don’t know about local long term care homes but I do know that to date Northumberland Hills Hospital has not given it’s nurses the $4 an hour pandemic pay.

Kyle
21 June 2020 11:57 am

Could have predicted this. Nurses want to jump on the salary leap frogging train that has been so successful for police, fire & ambulance. The “front Line” workers publicity campaigns have been used to drum it in our heads. The caption was carefully depicted not to include the majority of workers who actually are part of the frontline. They did not want their salaries compared to them. How many nurses were actually on the “Front Line” at NHH? A virtually empty hospital with little actual cases. More PSW’s have died from Covid while PPE was not available to them.

4 decades later...
20 June 2020 10:54 am

Our community runs on all levels of government funding: nothing comes close to education and health care as the major employers & benefit providers. Nursing salaries are all over the board in Ontario: $36.77/hr in Kawartha Lakes and $34.80/hr in Toronto..(are Kawartha Lakes nurses better than Toronto nurses?) Approximate compensation levels range between $60-$90k per year across the province…
For comparative purposes:
Stats Canada says that the median income for a person in Northumberland is $38k/yr…
Private sector wages haven’t gone up in 4 decades…

My conclusion is that if you are going to live here–make sure one of the salaries in your home is government or social assistance. Nursing, which used to be a vocation and is now a profession–qualifies. You’ll earn much more than anyone else; have full benefits and provide a great community care and be part of the ever-expanding, public service.

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  4 decades later...
20 June 2020 3:08 pm

You think welfare is lucrative? Could you, as a single person, live on $710 a month? That’s the total paid including all expenses: rent, food, and utilities.

Leweez
Reply to  Deborah O'Connor
20 June 2020 7:01 pm

is It true that a lot of people on social assistance secretly live with a partner who works,but this information is not divulged.
So in other words fraud?

Kevin
Reply to  Leweez
21 June 2020 7:50 am

If somebody is living on social assistance in community housing they likely qualify for RGI. The rent they pay out of pocket is about 30% of their income with the remained subsidized. When somebody else moves in the household income changes and the RGI calculation should be redone. The additional person might have a job for example. It can happen and is fraud not to report it. I do not know how common it is so would not use ‘a lot of people’. I have been told that about 3% of welfare is fraud which does not seem like a lot. I also have no idea how accurate this is.

Leweez
Reply to  Kevin
21 June 2020 9:49 am

Thank you for explanation

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  Kevin
22 June 2020 11:27 pm

People on welfare: 1314

people supported through Ontario Works last month

This doesn’t include people on the Ontario Disability Support Program. (ODSP)

Qualifying for subsidized housing is one thing, but the waiting lists are very long. Check out this info from the County.
https://www.northumberland.ca/en/living-here/subsidized-
housing.aspx/#waiting-time

Merry Mary
Reply to  Leweez
22 June 2020 11:12 am

This was/is a familiar scenario elsewhere in the Province and no doubt in this area. It was suggested years ago by the then Social Services that these cases should be reported to them.

ben
Reply to  Leweez
22 June 2020 12:29 pm

This is an urban myth propagated by ignorant people. Do you honestly not know the answer or did you post this to inflame?

Dubious
Reply to  ben
22 June 2020 12:58 pm

Is the urban myth that many cheat on welfare or that few cheat on welfare? How do you know which is true?

Kevin
Reply to  Deborah O'Connor
21 June 2020 7:37 am

With most rent more than $710 a month this amount is certainly not lucrative. But, at least for some, this is misleading. If somebody lives in community housing and qualifies for RGI (rent geared to income) the rent they pay is about 30% of the $710. That leaves almost $500 for food, utilities, etc. It is not a lot but possible to live on.

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  Kevin
22 June 2020 11:32 pm

There is nowhere near enough subsidized housing for single people and couples without kids living at home. |Not even close.

Kevin
Reply to  Deborah O'Connor
23 June 2020 9:20 pm

I have no doubt there is high demand for housing. Under the circumstances town employees should be working with developers to complete projects. Unless we do not want the type of housing a developer wants to build. The 71 unit building on University has been delayed by about a year by the town. It would be interesting to find out what is really going on. The building is to have units suitable for single people and couples. Some of the units will be affordable by CMHC definition. Is this developer likely to attempt a new project in Cobourg?

ben
19 June 2020 5:59 pm

The bottom line here John is that police and fire earn 25% more than nurses. Nurses also need a degree and two to three years more training than the men. So who are the truly underpaid here?

Frenchy
Reply to  ben
19 June 2020 9:10 pm

deletED

Last edited 12 days ago by Frenchy
Merry Mary
Reply to  ben
22 June 2020 11:18 am

Is this purely a wage issue or a gender issue given that there are male Nurses and female Firefighters and Police Officers?

ben
Reply to  Merry Mary
22 June 2020 12:31 pm

Now that pay equity has been demolished by Conservative governments and not supported by Liberal governments it would be hard to make the case for pay equity using a male comparitor

Merry Mary
Reply to  ben
22 June 2020 2:48 pm

Yet “they” did make that case three decades ago for- the much maligned- Educators.

Leweez
19 June 2020 4:55 pm

And once again, why does Cobourg need 12 full time firefighters, while Port Hope needs zero? Plus getting pandemic pay?
Okay Cobourg Taxpayers Association, why so quiet on this topic, while headhunting Lakefront Utilities?
Your silence is deafening CTA!!

Frenchy
Reply to  Leweez
19 June 2020 9:23 pm

Okay Cobourg Taxpayers Association, why so quiet on this topic, while headhunting Lakefront Utilities?

Good question Ken, et all.

Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
20 June 2020 12:13 am

Frenchy and Leweez,
You have identified this topic as an issue that you clearly have concerns about, so why don’t you do something about it? Why should it be up to the CTA to take this on?. The CTA has limited resources and cannot possibly take on all of the issues out there.
Get in the game and make a difference yourself. Do the research and put good questions to those in power. Assess their answers and ask again until you get proper non-fluffy answers, If your good and lucky, you may actually get a change in policy and action..

Leweez, you object to the CTA “headhunting” (your term) Lakefront Utilities. The implication being that such attention is unjust and unwarranted. Is this a correct understanding of your position and why do you feel this way?

Last edited 12 days ago by Bryan
Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
20 June 2020 6:37 am

Never said I objected to the CTA headhunting Lakefront Utilities.
The CTA has issues with not being able to see Lakefront salaries, but fire department salaries are readily available and every position at fire department is on sunshine list. Every management and union employee is over $100,000. Why so quiet on this department?
It does not take much in the way of resources to at least state the CTA’s position on this topic

Kevin
Reply to  Leweez
20 June 2020 8:05 am

The salaries of the fire department do seem high but I do not know what similar employees are paid in other areas. With Lakefront and Holdco we do not know how much managers are being paid. We do know (or at least can readily check) that water/sewage costs have been going up by double the rate of inflation for a number of years. Why? Water consumption cost has been going up at 9% per year. Lake water levels have been at record highs so there is no shortage of raw material to ‘make’ town water.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Leweez
20 June 2020 8:34 am

To decide if “real” firepersons are preferable to volunteers we need to compare fire insurance rates and staff costs. We know that Port Hope pays less for staff. How do fire insurance rates in Port Hope compare to those in Cobourg for similar structures?

Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
20 June 2020 9:00 am

How much does the local fire department add to ones monthly tax bill?

Bryan
Reply to  John Draper
20 June 2020 10:26 am

John,
This analysis has only one purpose: to trivialize the service costs and make them non-issues.
Trivialization, focusing on the micro cost, can be used to argue the lack of importance of almost any issue. Focus on the macro costs. These are big bucks and they need to be examined in that context.
The more relevant issues are the cost effectiveness, proper fiscal management and transparency, not the dollar cost of the service

Last edited 12 days ago by Bryan
Paul Pagnuelo
Reply to  Bryan
20 June 2020 12:17 pm

The analysis needs to go much further, including examining a fully integrated public safety service (police, fire, ems)), fully integrated fire/ems, countywide service, shared adminstrative services, response times, cross training, recruiting, rural vs. urban to name a few.

According to the Solicitor General’s office out of 441 fire departments in Ontario, only 32 are full time of which Cobourg is one.

Last edited 12 days ago by Paul Pagnuelo
Informed
Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
20 June 2020 12:37 pm

Cobourg is composite

Fact Checker
Reply to  Informed
20 June 2020 12:53 pm

Composite? For clarity, what do you mean by this term?

Informed
Reply to  Fact Checker
20 June 2020 1:49 pm

Combination of full time and volunteers.

Informed
Reply to  Bryan
20 June 2020 12:41 pm

Or how about what get for the money? Please tell me the difference between port hope and cobourg firefighters. I bet you cant name one other than full time versus part time

Last edited 12 days ago by Informed
Bryan
Reply to  Informed
20 June 2020 12:59 pm

Difference between Port Hope and Cobourg firefighters in what way? Cobourg FF are Town employees, mostly/all full time. Port Hope FF are volunteers except for the chief.
Paul P has done some research into the fire departments of other municipalities. I defer to him on this question

Paul Pagnuelo
Reply to  Bryan
20 June 2020 2:45 pm

Back on March 7th, John wrote about a joint task force review of fire efficiencies to be conducted by a consultant. The report was expected this month.

It should contain a lot of information that is not publicly available or known, hopefully including a comparison of services, response times, costs, etc.

While the Cobourg Fire Department publishes the annual number of calls, it does not break them down further by type – e.g. residential, commercial, industrial fire; accident; medical emergency; hazardous material; ice rescue; flooding; emergency preparedness response; etc

Informed
Reply to  Bryan
22 June 2020 6:24 pm

Yet the dollar coat of the service seems to be the only issue with most people

Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
20 June 2020 10:02 am

HOLDCO/LUI/LUSI salaries are only a small part of the issue. The major issue is the lack of transparency, which covers a whole range of sub issues including salaries and rate increases that are 4 times the cost of living. Taking a position on a topic is only the first step. You also have to have a plan to effect change. There is little to be gained by complaining about something and then not following through with suggestions on how to improve the situation. In the case of the firefighters, perhaps the salaries are high and the cost of the service is high. Now what? Port Hope has a volunteer FD. That’s nice. Now what? What are the alternatives? Why are they better? How can they be put into practice? What are the odds that you will be able to improve the situation? Who’s going to: “fight the “battle”? Do the research? Do the analysis? Outline the alternatives? Develop the “why this is better”argument? Make the presentations? Do the lobbying? You’ve identified an issue that concerns you, so what are you going to do about it? Gather like minded people and prepare a plan. You likely haven’t done this before and… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Bryan
Bill Thompson
Reply to  Bryan
20 June 2020 4:05 pm

So easy to talk the talk…but walk the walk ?…….🙄

Informed
Reply to  Leweez
20 June 2020 7:23 am

No full time firefighters in the province receive pandemic pay.i looked into this before and found no evidence of this

Are_n
Reply to  Informed
22 June 2020 6:19 pm

From a firefighter friend in Clarington: The firefighters unions actively lobbied against getting pandemic pay. They felt they were compensated well enough for what they did and suggested that the money be put towards PSW pay, PPE etc. The paramedics unions took a different approach and basically said “we deserve the money too”.

Gerald Childs
Reply to  Are_n
22 June 2020 7:35 pm

Not quite RN. The paramedics who were able to forgo the pandemic pay directed it to the charitable arm of either their respective paramedic unions or the Ontario Paramedic Association. The pandemic pay was left up to each individual, to decide as each family is different and has different circumstances. Some are single parents with daycare expenses (before front line daycare). Police and Firefighters are the highest paid and the least trained if you take diplomas, clinical hours and years of college required for an entry level I Paramedic. The firefighters union did not allow their membership a say in whether or not they would receive payment.

Informed
Reply to  Are_n
22 June 2020 8:52 pm

Correct. I also have a friend that sent me the statement the opffa sent out directing the money to PSWs and other frontline workers. Thanks

perplexed
Reply to  Leweez
20 June 2020 8:52 am

I guess because your not a Member in good standing drawing this to their attention

perplexed
19 June 2020 4:30 pm

At least they have meaningful jobs . respect a pension and fantastic benefits
a clean safe place to work Way more than a lot of people right now or in the near future

Gerald Childs
Reply to  perplexed
19 June 2020 4:45 pm

I would guess you have very limited first hand knowledge of the nurses job in a hospital. Clean? I suppose that is relative as to what unit they are working. Respect a pension (sic), I guess that they have a pension, why not? People can’t have pensions now? Fantastic benefits. Do tell us about those fantastic benefits. I was a patient recently in CCU, these highly trained women and men deserve every penny they get. And to suggest they should settle for less is an insult. Our nurses get raided by headhunters two or three times a year. Employers that value a Canadian Trained nurse pay quite a bit more than what they get here in Ontario. And a lot of them get either free housing when they transfer to other places like Texas, Dubai, and other first world countries. Ford is giving them a swift kick in the feels. And here I thought our Premier was actually listening. Same with his idea of taking six stautory holidays away from his Heroes. His words not mine. Six Stat holidays for at least two years. Sounds like a claw back of danger pay.

Last edited 12 days ago by Gerald Childs
perplexed
Reply to  Gerald Childs
20 June 2020 9:00 am

Again some areas have more work and cases than others
I agree that Nurses in areas like Tor work hard and are over worked but you have to admit Cobourg / Northumberland wasn’t exactly run off its feet with this Covid thing
Yes we had the usual Propaganda thing going around and the fear factor
but reality Check ?? That Oshawa Hospital is twice as efficient .

Informed
Reply to  perplexed
20 June 2020 8:49 am

There is no meaningful comparison here. Nurses are truly on the frontlines and deserve more than they are paid. They actually deserved more before the pandemic even began. Being critical of other wages emergency services are paid creates a ” Race to the bottom” mentality. How about wages of CAOs of major groceries chains that are removing pandemic pay for grocery store employees as they pocket millions?