Yesterday we heard from our Premier that we are entering Stage 1 of the re-opening of Ontario’s economy. Most of the restrictions being eased back will have very little impact on most of our members in the way that they work. Some groups of members will hopefully see some improvements though, notably those who work supporting medical professionals in the Hamilton Health Sciences. We do not yet have details on when or how the return of surgeries and in person medical appointments will begin to be implemented. Sarah-Kai Antanaitis, Unit 1 Chair, will continue to monitor the situation and when we have updates for those members being impacted, there will be further communications.
This week our President, Beth Couchman, participated in a video consultation with Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to give our perspective of the COVID-19 measures impacts on post-secondary education. It was an excellent opportunity for our Local to remind the Provincial Government that while student and faculty and research is being discussed as needing support, none of the courses, labs, or research held at McMaster happens without the support and work of our members, who are often being overlooked in these conversations.
Our Local has also been keeping in touch with other post-secondary institutions through the ETOP Industry Council. This allows us to share information, resources and understand how different institutions are responding.
Throughout this recent challenging time, we have seen that when the public puts pressure on the government they will respond. Everything from expansion of CERB eligibility to pandemic pay for front line workers has been improved after the public told the governments we needed to close gaps in supports. The NDP has a petition that is calling on the Ford government to close another gap in the pandemic pay for front line workers. While the pandemic pay is an important win, it leaves out many workers who are on the front lines of keeping our health care, and communities, functioning. We would encourage you to add your voice and sign the petition at https://www.ontariondp.ca/fairness-for-frontline-workers. Change.org also has an on-line petition specifically asking for clerical and administrative workers to be included in the definitions of front line workers in medical settings.
International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
May 17th is the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The LGBTQ community in Canada is disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of the pandemic because of historic and structural oppression that cause more queer and trans people to live in homelessness and work in low-wage and precarious jobs. This year Unifor is encouraging you to ‘Shout your Pride’. Unifor’s statement, and more information can be found on our post here.
We also wanted to share a resource for the Hamilton LGBTQ+ community. Speqtrum’s goal is that Hamilton’s LGBTQ2SIA+ youth will form and maintain healthy, close relationships with their peers and community. They have gone online with their weekly check in and events and have resources and supports on their page that may be of interest.