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Structural or Institutional racism

by epiong,

Government and its institutions are quick to acknowledge the existence of these blights upon society. But they are even better at maintaining the status quo and doing as little as possible to address the issue in any substantive manner.

The IWK contracts out housekeeping functions. These workers, despite being unionised, make about 13-17 dollars an hour, have no pension plan (!!!) and are not even worthy of consideration as actual IWK employees. At the start of the pandemic, these were the very people being hailed as health care heroes. Now, not so much. The IWK did not even see fit to pressure the employer (Crothall Services) to implement a pandemic bonus payment for these people which even the bread price fixers at Loblaw corporation (Superstores) did here for a short while in Nova Scotia.

It is no coincidence that this workforce at the IWK is the most diverse. Like most of the IWK it is also majority female. With this contracting out policy, a policy that is very consciously designed to drive down costs to the lowest level possible, we have an absolutely magnificent example of structural racism at work. The executives at the IWK, all making well into the 6 figures in salary, would deny any racist intent, but the point is that the outcomes belie this. The excuse is always that "we are trying to save taxpayer dollars." The interesting fact is that this is always at the expense of low paid, powerless, voiceless workers.

The results of this policy ensure that these workers are in precarious situations, that their life opportunities are limited because of their crappy wages and benefits and that any attempts to improve their lives are going to be limited by the reality of not even being paid a living wage by an employer that supposedly cares about the health and well being of the women and children of this province.

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