Health-care workers protest outside of Riverview Gardens long-term care home in Chatham

·2 min read
Staff, excluding nurses, at Riverview Gardens long-term care home in Chatham are protesting Thursday due to burn out and lack of vacation time. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)
Staff, excluding nurses, at Riverview Gardens long-term care home in Chatham are protesting Thursday due to burn out and lack of vacation time. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)

Dozens of health-care workers at a long-term care home in Chatham are protesting Thursday, saying they're burned out and lacking time off.

Employees at Riverview Gardens — with the exception of registered nurses — are part of Unifor Local 127. Their contract expired Jan. 1, and negations with the non-profit company have reached a standstill.

Union president Jeff McFadden said the workers are burned out.

"They've had really no time to recharge — days off, vacation and whatnot. They're at their limit to be honest with you," he said on CBC Radio's Windsor Morning ahead of the protest Thursday.

"We're just trying to get them some vacation time, some down time to recharge."

Staff are also unhappy that management is relying on a third party to help fill shifts at the facility, which is home to about 320 residents.

Jacob Barker/CBC
Jacob Barker/CBC

"It's allowed under the collective agreement, but we don't want our members to be disrespected when it comes to not being allowed time off, and for pay," said McFadden. "The third party is being paid a little bit more than what our members are being paid."

In an emailed statement to CBC News, a Riverview Gardens spokesperson said she couldn't comment on the protest.

"We are currently in negotiations with Unifor and not currently at liberty to speak about the topics," said Mary Alice Searles, director of senior services at the Riverview Gardens.

McFadden wants the home to hire more staff so his members have more of a chance to take time off.

According to the union, members had a bargaining meeting last month and conducted a mock strike vote with 99 per cent of members prepared to strike if it's legal in Ontario.

LISTEN | Hear more from McFadden about he protest:

More to come.