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Posts Tagged ‘union’

Hypodermic needle with needle capYou’d think that health professionals would be most knowledgeable about the benefits of the treatments they administer, so why do 52 per cent of Toronto health professionals not have the annual flu shot, according to this June 26, 2012 Toronto Star article?

This is in the context of them being “free,” through public taxes, for any resident of Ontario.

Fewer than half of Toronto’s health-care workers get annual flu shots. These are trained medical professionals who dress patients’ wounds, jab intravenous needles into their veins, empty their colostomy bags and put feeding tubes in their noses. They, if anyone, should know the risk of spreading an infectious disease that can be deadly for the elderly or those with compromised immune systems.

Yet 52 per cent refuse – or just don’t bother – to get vaccinated, insisting they should have the same rights as anyone else.

Good on the unions for standing behind their members’ rights:

The unions representing health-care workers strenuously oppose such actions. “Our approach has always to encourage the Ministry of Health and hospitals to work on education with hospital workers on the positive health impacts of immunization,” says one union official.

Remember how we are supposed to respect the professional opinion of professional workers? Not in this case, according to the Toronto Star editorial board:

Toronto would not be setting a precedent. Flu shots are already mandatory for health-care workers in North Bay. Nor would Ontario be breaking ground. It already requires health-care workers to be immunized for hepatitis B.

A flu shot takes less than 10 minutes. It’s a quick prick in the arm. If health-care workers won’t make the effort, it’s time to push them.

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English: David Brown caterpillar tractor

On the January 8, 2012 episode of The Progressive News Hour with Stephen Lendman, Robert Abele mentioned Caterpillar employees in London, Ontario being locked out for refusing to take a wage cut from $35 an hour to $16 an hour, and how the union was allegedly selling out the workers.

About 90 minutes away, where I sit now, there was a company (Kitchener Frame) with workers who were members of the Canadian Auto Workers union, and the company offered them a wage cut like the one Caterpillar is offering their workers, and union rules prevented the workers from accepting *any* wage cut, even though the workers had a majority vote to accept the lower pay and keep their jobs. It was too late to decertify their union, and every one of them lost their job.

Therefore, I don’t see Robert’s point of the union selling out the workers in the case of Caterpillar, by proposing only a 30% wage cut instead of around 50%, since it’s still subject to a majority vote by the workers, and between the rotten trade deals, a higher Canadian dollar compared to 10 years ago, and intense competition from China and India, I think they are very likely to all be laid off if they don’t accept what the company is demanding.

I think there are larger issues at play in these cases that need to be tackled at a societal and political level.

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