Letter to the Premier - Martin Been, Health Care Provider (April, 2020)
Let me start by saying that I am proud to call myself a member of the health care team. I wear my pride on my shirt as a reminder that I do this for the public which I serve.
At the same time, I am ashamed to call myself a health care worker, based strictly on how we’ve been devalued by your government.
Historically the mere mention of someone working in health care, brought responses of interest on how to acquire various professions in the field. One could earn a fair living with a decent wage then. There was a sense of respect for all that we did.
Now the mention of working in health care doesn’t draw the attraction it once did. The decent wage has fallen victim to affordability.
I watched, with interest how your Party suggested health care workers should take a 3.5% wage cut, citing that if MLA’s could do so, why couldn’t healthcare workers? I point out to you, Mr. Premier that the 3.5% wage cut your government took for one year, kept all of you in the $100,000/year club. Never was it posed that the 3.5% cut put to health care workers would have an expiry date of one year, plus such a 3.5% cut would throw me into a lower tax bracket which if I may point out hardly seems fair.
Health care workers have been without a contract since April of 2017. The latest offer which starts with not one, but two years of 0 increase, is beyond comprehension.
The Covid 19 pandemic has brought out both the best and worst. Long fought for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) was finally granted as the best tool to use in keeping frontline workers safe. To accomplish this, however, the downgrading of previous conditions health care workers had normally safeguarded against through use of PPE occurred.
You Mr. Premier, have repeatedly stated throughout this pandemic that health care workers are essential...unfortunately, the sense of pride and acknowledgment that goes along with this designation, does not pay the bills. I am hoping you can find a way to demonstrate to health care workers that we are truly valued.
Thank you for your earliest reply,