LONDON, ONT. -- Hundreds of health care workers from union locals across London hit the streets Friday, calling for pandemic pay for all front line-health care workers.

A rally was staged outside the Commissioners Road entrance of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

“For being a front-line worker that’s exposed daily, it doesn’t feel too great,” said Jamie Sweetman, an emergency department technician at LHSC.

UNIFOR Local 27 organized the event. It represents some 1,500 registered practical nurses (RPNs), personal support workers (PSWs) and many other employee groups at LHSC and St. Joseph’s Health Care.

They’re angry that only some essential health care workers are eligible for the pay bump.

Sweetman said the work environment has been stressful.

“You got x-ray techs, you got EKG techs, doctors, nurses, PSWs, emerg techs. It really takes a whole team to just care for one person, and to exclude any of them, that’s just not right.”

Jamie Sweetman, emergency department technicion
Jamie Sweetman, right, an ER technician at LHSC rallies for health care worker pandemic pay in London, Ont. on Friday, June 19, 2020. (Bryan Bicknell / CTV News)

Unifor local 27 President Steve McCaw, an x-ray technologist, said his members are burning out and feeling discouraged.

“There’s more and more demand for testing and that’s what we need. Unfortunately they’re running thin on energy. This obviously doesn’t help, not being duly recognized.”

Those involved in the rally say it has been nearly two months since the pandemic pay bump of $4 per hour to eligible health care workers was announced, but to date no one has received the pay.

Sarah O’Melia Muylaert, who serves as unit chair for Unifor local 27, said hospitals have not been given clear direction on which workers are eligible.

For instance, health care attendants are eligible, but LHSC calls the position health care “aide,” thus the confusion. She said it’s frustrating for employees.

“This money was promised to them on April 25th, and now here we are June 19th and there’s no decisions, there’s no transfer, there’s no funds.”

The provincial government has acknowledged the delay in paying the 375,000 health care workers in Ontario who are eligible for the pay bump, but it says the cash is coming soon.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson told CTV News earlier this week the money will flow in “very short order,” but couldn’t provide a specific date.