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USW resolves to ‘Build Power’ in health care, rapidly growing sectors

August 12, 2022

The USW will ramp up efforts to organize education and health care workers, security officers, telecommunications professionals and other white-collar workers, delegates to the 2022 Constitutional Convention directed Thursday.

The resolution saluted the sacrifices that workers in these and similar fields made during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also observed the urgent need to “build power” in these rapidly growing sectors and rededicated the union to helping members bargain better contracts, safer working conditions and a greater voice on the job.

“On a daily basis, our members were spit on, hit and cursed at,” said Sherry Charette, president of Local 9597, which represents 6,000 security officers and airport screeners across Ontario. “You name it, they had to deal with it. I think a lot more needs to be done for our security industry.”

Delegates gave the union’s 50,000 health care workers a standing ovation Monday, the opening day of the convention, when International President Tom Conway saluted the contributions they’ve made during the pandemic. The resolution adopted Thursday aims at further empowering these workers and providing the resources they need to protect themselves and their patients.

It commits the union to fighting for safe staffing levels, for example, and helping members better leverage their collective power through the USW’s Health Care Workers Council in America, the Health Care Council in Canada and a Health Care Workers Council Conference to be held at least once every two years.

“You would not believe the stuff employers try to get away with,” said Duane McEwan of Local 1-207 in Alberta, noting members at understaffed long-term care facilities compiled “work short lists” that ended up the size of “two or three telephone books.”

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