Carrie Dawson has worked in housekeeping at Southlake Hospital in Newmarket for 30 years, so she knows the ins and outs of the workplace and the health and safety issues that linger there.
Together with her colleagues and with the cooperation of management and HR at the hospital, she helped throw a successful health and safety fair that was attended by staff and even the CEO.
“We came up with an idea because housekeeping seems to be largely involved with a lot of WSIB and sick plan claims. Management has been great – they listen to us, there is give and take.”
Carrie, centre right, with her colleagues and Manny Carvalho (background)
There were about 14 booths. Manny Carvalho, SEIU Healthcare Secretary-Treasurer, got his flu vaccine at one booth. There was mask fit testing for staff at another. HOOPP was there to answer questions about the pension plan.
Demonstrations included how to push stretchers and hampers and lift boxes safely.
Workplace violence is also an important issue that was addressed at the event. “Southlake enforces the no-tolerance violence policy, and I’m also on the workplace violence committee,” says Carrie.
Carrie lives in Newmarket with her husband and son, but she’s not far from her daughter either – she also works at Southlake as a nurse.
“I really like being a part of the union and trying to help other people. The chief steward stepped down and I have stuck to it ever since then.”