Sold Out By Union

To the editor:

I am an HEU member and work as a long term care-aide. Even though I feel I was sold out by my union with the fast acceptance of a legislated contract that will have severe repercussions not only for health care workers but every other contract that comes up for negotiation, I still remain a faithful member. Don't get me wrong though, when our elections roll around, that is when I will be voting for a new leader that has the vision and backbone to lead this membership!

Strikes are always an inconvenience and usually the result of the inability of either side to reach a common ground. In our case all we wanted was one thing to happen so we could start bargaining. We wanted Gordon Campbell to STOP firing our HEU brothers and sisters while we were at the table. Would he make that ONE concession while asking us to make many more concessions? NO!

To the very disgruntled former union person who wrote in, I am very glad you left the union and are now employed elsewhere. I have always had a huge problem with people who take union jobs but don't support the union and actually hate unions. You have no business being in a decent union job working alongside brothers and sisters who have fought long and hard through the years for a decent standard of living.

I worked in a low paying retail job for over 11 yrs while trying to raise my young son. My day care was having to be subsidized by the government and I was having to rely on family at the end of every month when I ran out of groceries or had a bill that was due. Because I wanted to provide a decent living for my son and myself, I went back to school and took my course. I have been doing this job for 7 yrs now and I don't rely on the government for any help now. I work mainly with seniors (your beloved grandma, grandpa, mom or dad) or others that can't look after themselves. I love my job but it can be very stressful and most of the public and families don't have a clue what I go through each working day.

I won't go into the details here, but I have heard many times from people that they could never do the job I do and you know what? They are right as it does take a special person to work with people who can no longer toilet, feed or bath themselves. We deal with all kinds of violence and then deal with family members who think their loved one is the only one in the home who counts and gets angry when they think we aren't responding fast enough.

Is my job stressful? YES! Do I deserve the decent wage I make and the necessary time off? YES! Would you REALLY like an underpaid stressed out worker looking after your loved one? Knowing what my job entails, working with frail human lives, I will NOT work for $10-$12 an hour. If that ever happens here like its already happening in the private facilities, I will go back to school, be in debt up to my ears and retrain.


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