Fairness For Department of Community Service workers
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This was written by one of my co-workers. I know each and every one of us are thinking the same thing. I really hope you take the time to reconsider recent decisions made by the Nova Scotia Government.
"Who Is Fighting For Community Service Workers?
With the recent announcement from the Nova Scotia Government, that Community Service Workers are excluded from the premium offered to health care workers, workers are left feeling undervalued, and forgotten, yet again. Over the last few years, this has become an all too familiar narrative.... 'this doesn't apply to DCS'. This comes in the form of education, committees, programs, PPE, compensation, contracts, support, day to day communication... the list goes on. And it's getting old. It is time someone stepped up!
What began as quiet grumblings has now become a matter of discontent and regular conversation from the majority of Community Service workers that we are hearing from. What seems to have been the tipping point, was when Dr. Strang issued directives for the use of PPE as covid19 arrived in our region. He made clear that health protocols were extended to LTC facilities, and included workers being issued and mandated to wear surgical masks among other directives. We watched with bated breath... but this didn't apply to Community Services. So, we (the members)took it upon ourselves to write letters to our MLAs, and our MP, and asked that CS workers simply be included in those directives. A simple ask, but one that should never have had to be asked. Four days after we wrote our letters, Strang's address to the province included those long awaited words, that CS was to be included in the directive afterall. We were then, and thankfully, supplied with surgical masks and increased health protocols. In addition to the few uncertain weeks preceeding this announcement, it was a long additional four days of uncertainty and feeling as though we were not valued or even thought of for that matter, by McNeil and Strang.
Regardless, we continued to put our lives at risk, and those of our families whom we went home to after every shift as we kept showing up to work without fail. I should also note, that although this may have been the tipping point of discontent, it is but one example.
I don't think I need to tell you that Community Service workers are providing up close and personal (literally), in-home support to some of our most vulnerable community members. Individuals who largely do not understand social distancing, and other health/social protocols. Individuals who rely on us to show up, no matter what, 24/7. Nor should I need to tell you that the health and wellness of our clients rests solely on the health and wellness of the workers. Their lives literally depend on us. This translates to every aspect of their lives, and exists outside of the pandemic. We are tired of hearing of programs, and services offered... but not to Community Services (RSWs and PCWs in Group Homes, Small Option Homes and ARCs). We are tired of not being included in government directives that will protect our clients, workers, and families. We are tired of not being as valued as our counterparts in LTC and Home Care. We are tired of being expendable. We are tired of being forgotten. We are tired of being reminded of this day every...single...day.
And MOST OF ALL, we are tired of Government, and society as a whole, not recognizing the incredible people we support to be equal and contributing members of the community. But not to worry... we will continue to fight for them every day and we will continue to show up, because they matter and because we care.
So we will ask the question once again... who is fighting for Community Service Workers and the people we support?
We are calling on the McNeil Government to recognize Community Services as equal to Long Term Care and Home Care." (Written By Heather Cameron Thomson)
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