Professor jams for home care

By R.P. Hitt

Tom Juravich, a professor of labor studies at the University of Massachusetts, recently performed in a music video for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. The video defends the plight of visiting nurses in the town of Hamilton, Ontario.

The song, titled “What Will You Do When I’m Gone?” was written by Juravich and fellow artist Teresa Healy, according to a release on the University of Massachusetts website. The song was originally written for a 2008 rally to protest the unstable work environment for visiting nurses. The strife over the issue, according to the release, has been caused by a system of competitive bidding between two home care agencies, the Victorian Order of Nurses and St. Joseph’s Home Care.

The video begins with a nurse visiting “an old steel worker.” The scene depicts the nurse preparing bandages for the man and asking him about his day, while the melody of Juravich and Healy plays in the background.

The video proceeds to show a nurse visiting an apparently sick child, while Healy sings, “Queen’s Park politicians think they know better than me. They want to give away our nursing jobs to some private company.”

Juravich and Healy are shown singing in front of protesting nurses at the end of the video.

“We want out nursing jobs, what gives him the right,” sings Juravich, as he strums his guitar. “We’re standing strong together, we’ll not give up the fight.”

According to the release, the 2008 rally led to officials placing a moratorium on competition for home nursing care in the area. However, last spring the health minister of Ontario declared that competitive bidding would be put in place once again in Hamilton, despite its history of resistance to such a move.

The union to which the nurses belong continues to maintain that competitive bidding drives up the cost of home care and leaves patients without long term care, according to the release.

The video was released and distributed by OPSEU to media outlets last week. The YouTube video currently has 1,170 hits.

According to the release, OPSEU produced a website to host the video. The website contains information about the group’s cause, and the organization plans to put up more content pertaining to the video.

R.P. Hitt can be reached at [email protected]