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Union representing Quebec health-care professionals demands recognition for work

About a dozen  health professionals demonstrated outside Premier Francois Legault's Montreal office Thursday. Global News

A number of health-care workers and technicians in Quebec say they are getting the short end of the stick and are demanding recognition for their work during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

About a dozen health professionals demonstrated outside Premier Francois Legault’s Montreal office Thursday.

“We feel that the situation is critical and were asking the government — just like our members who have a lot of heart — to have heart for our members as well,” APTS Second Vice President Veronic Lapalme said.

“Right now (Legault’s) heart is pretty ice cold.”

READ MORE: Health-care workers at Maimonides walk-off the job over delayed provincial bonus payment

Members carried and decorated the area with frozen hearts in what they called a symbolic protest.

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The demonstration was orchestrated by the Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux ( APTS), which represents more than 60,000 members who operate under 106 different job titles related to health care.

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“We want the government to recognize our members and what they are doing in this pandemic,” Lapalme said.

The union is calling on the government to provide added compensation for health-care workers such as lab technicians and physiotherapists who are not eligible for the provincial bonuses for their work during the pandemic.

“We have members working alongside nurses and PABS who are not getting the $1,000 bonus. We think the government should give proper recognition,” Lapalme said.

Quebec’s financial incentive program, announced in May, was created to retain essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The program provides eligible workers $100 per week beginning March 15 extending up to 16 weeks. In addition to their regular wages, workers could receive $400 per month for a total of $1,600.

Union members are also upset over contract negotiations with the provincial government.

Maxime Clément, APTS spokesperson, said talks have been in a deadlock for over a year.

“We represent a lot of workers, different jobs, different conditions and different needs,” Clément said.

“The government needs to understand that.”

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