On Tuesday July 28th we invited four frontline workers from the Chinese Canadian
community to share their experiences working on the frontline. What were their experiences working on the frontline? Here are their stories:
The first front-line worker is a grocery worker working in a chinese grocery store, Ms. Z. She lost her job because of COVID 19. In order to survive, she found work as a cashier in a grocery store. It was also her first time working as a cashier as well. To her surprise, she was not paid any salary for the 10 hours of training. As she was about to leave, her boss also withheld her salary for 10 hours. Her colleagues have no safety measures such as non-slip shoes, and there are even people who are still at work with injuries… It really broke her heart to see her co-workers living and working in such bad conditions in order to survive. Frontline workers in the grocery sector did not get any of the pandemic pay that the government provided, and the meagre 2 dollars that some workers saw were quickly removed by corporations who put profit above all else.
The second frontline worker is Ms. L, who works at the blood bank. Ms. L has worked at the blood bank for many years as a blood donor screener. At the early stage of the pandemic, she was told that she was not allowed to wear a mask at work, or she would be stopped from working. Ms. L was very helpless. Why was the simple measure to protect herself and others not recognized by others, but was threatened to stop work? With the increasing severity of the pandemic, Ms. L's colleagues started to wear masks one after another, but were stopped by their supervisor. During the epidemic, the workload of the blood bank is almost double that of the original. People of all kinds come to donate blood every day, and COVID-19 has an incubation period, once a blood donor carries the virus, the whole blood bank is over. So Ms. L and her colleagues organized together, and negotiated with the management for four hours. They won, they were allowed to wear masks at their own expense, and it was some time before the company began handing out masks and shields. Blood Banks can be regarded as the engine for hospitals. If blood Banks cannot function normally, there will be no blood bags delivered for patients. During the pandemic, the number of blood donation witnesses increased and the staff of blood Banks doubled their work at the risk, but they were not included in the range of salary increase, is that fair?
The third is Mr.T, who held several jobs during the pandemic. His story touched many people. Mr.T has been in Canada for 15 years and has worked in several different jobs. Later, he decided to take further study in nursing, and now he has six different academic certificates. Mr.T was working three jobs at the same time, one as a foot nurse in a senior home, one as a nurse in a long term care center, and the other as a PSW. Due to COVID-19, Mr.T lost his job as a foot nurse. He is still working as a nurse and a PSW. Mr.T enjoys working as PSW, , because he really likes to help and accompany those in need of service. However, during the pandemic, Mr.T said that he was under great pressure at work and felt very uncomfortable wearing an N95 mask,as the mask makes him hard to breathe, also, Mr.T has to move to various clients' homes every day. He was also very worried that he may catch the virus. Mr.T had a patient who lived in a place where he was required to wear protective clothing. After one hour's work, due to the hot weather, his body was soaked with sweat. Patients with suspected COVID-19 symptoms may be encountered at any time during work as well. full protective equipment is Mr.T's comrade during the hot summer.
Sometimes he gets a break between the two clients. Mr.T used to hang out in the mall to kill time, but now he can't go anywhere. He can only stay in the car and endure the hot summer. Mr.T, who still insisted on working, brought many concerns to his family as well that Mr.T was worried that he might accidentally carry the virus home, but he is more strongly driven by his sense of mission that makes him insist on working.
The last one is a full-time nurse working in a nursing home for the senior care center, Mr. P worked during the SARS outbreak in 2002 and also a coVID-19 pandemic this year. Mr. P found work as a nurse in 2009 and as an acupuncturist in 2010. His acupuncture clinic closed because of the pandemic, and more than a dozen colleagues' incomes were affected. Then Mr. P was notified in March to wear a mask in the senior care center, and he thinks the protective measures his workplace has taken is considerate.The workplace was managed in different layers, and there was no flow between floors. Management controlled the flow of staff, increased the number of cleaners and guards, and required employees to change their clothes at work. Mr. P felt that government grants helped them a lot, so his workplace is able to stay free of any cases.
However, Mr. P felt that Canada was not sufficiently prepared for PPE in the early stage of the COVID-19. In addition, P was very touched by the support they received from the community, such as medical caps made by volunteers and masks donated by some of their peers in Canada. P felt they were supported and they were not alone in this battle.
These real front-line stories have touched many people. The work condition of these Chinese Canadian workers also represents the bitterness and observation of frontline workers in many different industries. I wonder if you share similar experiences with them. These storytellers, as front-line workers, have a mission to help society function, and as members of a family, they are responsible for their family members. Every front-line worker should be treated fairly: what about wage increases and paid sick days? What about more PPE? What about status for migrant workers? And perhaps more help from our governments and all sectors of society?
T先生有一个病人,其居住地方要求穿防护服工作, 工作一个小时后由于天气炎热,全身都被汗水湿透了，没有一块干的地方... 工作随时可能碰到疑似新冠肺炎症状的病人, 每天全套防护装备在身在炎热的夏天工作奔波。有时两个客人中间有点间隔休息的时间，以前T先生会在商场里逛逛打发时间，可是现在哪也去不了，只能呆在车里忍受酷暑... 仍然坚持工作的T先生，给家庭也带来了不少危机，T先生每天都担心自己会不小心携带病毒回家，但是又带着强烈的使命感在前线工作...