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Hospital workers to get raise after arbitration

Hospital workers represented by CUPE and SEIU healthcare are getting a six per cent wage increase over two years after bargaining, and deals by arbitrator William Kaplan, it was announced Friday morning.  

That equates to three per cent raises for Ontario hospital workers each year, as well as improvements to health and dental benefits, enhancements to weekend, evening, and night premiums, and pay for periods of quarantine or isolation. 

The award follows a 2023 Kaplan decision that awarded the same workers a 6.25 per cent retroactive wage increase after the defeat of Doug Ford’s unconstitutional Bill 124. 

“Patients deserve hospital workers who are focused on them, not the economic anxieties they face because of years of attacks from the provincial government,” Sharleen Stewart, President, SEIU Healthcare, said in a media release.  

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“This award is a win for hospital workers who have been holding the healthcare system together with sacrifice and grit, and it’s a brutal recognition that hospital services will indeed collapse without better wages for frontline staff.  

Michael Hurley, President, OCHU-CUPE, said the arbitration decision will lift the spirits of frontline hospital workers struggling with impossible workloads in a staff retention crisis.  

“Significant improvements to dental and other benefits, real wage increases, and substantial adjustments to premiums will all contribute to making these frontline hospital staff feel valued and help them to better cope with the cost-of-living crisis that all working people are facing.” 

***With files from Paul Cluff

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