St. Elizabeth workers are joining CUPE

St. Elizabeth workers are joining CUPE

St. Elizabeth’s – Toronto

In May 2019 over 160 St Elizabeth employees at Hillcrest Reactivation in Toronto voted overwhelmingly to join CUPE.

These employees weren’t fooled by the employer’s `sudden’ interest in their wellbeing and weren’t intimidated by their scare tactics. They knew that the only way to improve working conditions was to join CUPE.

St. Elizabeth’s – Kingston Area

CUPE has heard from many of your colleagues about the working conditions and rates of pay at St Elizabeth’s in Kingston. Homecare workers take pride in their work and work hard to provide quality, compassionate care. Recognition and a living wage for this dedication is not too much to ask.

What to expect from St’ Elizabeth’s Health Care

Employers do not want their workers to join a union because that means they lose the absolute control of their workers that they currently enjoy. It is not because they are suddenly concerned about your personal financial well being.

When other St Elizabeth employees began looking into joining the union, like in Toronto, the employer tried hard to prevent it. You can expect St Elizabeth’s to do some or all of the following:

  • Tell you they are a not for profit organization and that they can’t afford to pay you a living wage for the work you do.
  • Tell you that union dues are so high that they will be more than a negotiated wage increase.
  • Tell you that you will no longer be able to deal with your manager directly.
  • Tell you that you will lose the positive relationship you have with them.
  • Hold information meetings with you to try and convince you that joining the union is a bad for you.
  • Offer a lump sum payment to `non union’ employees only.

The facts

  • There are other non profit agencies that receive the exact same funding as St. Elizabeths who pay higher wages because the workplace is unionized. These wages are up to over $4.00 more per hour. For example Toronto Rehabilitation Institute pays RPNs up to $30.50/hr and PSWs up to $22.46/hr
  • CUPE Local Unions set their own dues rates which, according to the member-determined CUPE Constitution, must be at least 0.85% of regular wages. The average dues rate in CUPE is 1.5%. Also, Union dues are tax deductible.
  • Having a union doesn’t mean that you won’t deal with your manager on the day to day issues just as you do now. What does change is that if there are problems that your manager won’t deal with, the union is there to represent you.
  • Often having a union helps to improve the relationship making it more balanced and respectful. Of course this may not be seen as a positive by the employer but it certainly is for employees!
  • Employers are allowed to hold info meetings to talk about why they don’t want you to join the union. What is illegal is for them to harass, intimidate or coerce you into not joining the union.
  • A lump sum payment might seem nice at the time but it does nothing to improve your overall lifestyle. Homecare workers need a living wage and the only way to do that is to join a union that can negotiate a wage increase for you each time the contract is up for negotiation. Don’t be mislead with crumbs, you want the whole piece of the pie.


If you are interested in finding out more about joining CUPE visit our website at
or contact:

The Home Care Workers Project avatar
About The Home Care Workers Project is a project to support home care workers by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Canada's largest union.