Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

September 10, 2008 13:35 ET

OPSEU President Thomas: Timiskaming Health Unit Strike Deliberately Provoked by Employer

NEW LISKEARD, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 10, 2008) - Ontario Public Service Employees Union President Warren (Smokey) Thomas blasted the Timiskaming Health Unit today for deliberately provoking an unnecessary strike and for bargaining in bad faith.

The nursing, professional-technical and clerical staff of the Health Unit, members of Local 674, went on strike this morning, after the employer walked away from the bargaining table at 10:45 p.m.

Thomas says the employer came back to the bargaining table Sept. 9 with an offer that was inferior to the one the members had already rejected in a 90 per cent vote.

"This is not bargaining a contract; this is bargaining a strike," said Thomas. "But OPSEU members have a big surprise for this agency. We won't back down."

The employer spent the day yesterday changing the locks in preparation for a strike, while the union was negotiating in good faith with the help of a mediator.

All public health programs such as pre-natal clinics, dental hygiene clinics, and food and water inspection will be affected. "It's definitely not business as usual," said Thomas.

Wages for this group lag behind their counterparts in health units including those in North Bay and Sudbury. The other strike issues include the employer's attempts to reduce the members' entitlements in areas such as training and vacation.

"The union didn't want this strike; but if it's a fight they want our members will give them one," Thomas said.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Mike Bisaillon
    1-800-268-7376 or (705) 492-8818