Health-care workers in Ontario vote to strike if necessary

First round of talks since reorganization: OPSEU
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 12/07/2017
Labour relations
OPSEU represents more than 600 community health-care professionals employed by the LHINs across four regions: the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN, the Central East LHIN, the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, and the North East LHIN. SHUTTERSTOCK

Workers at four of Ontario's Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) voted on Dec. 1, 94 per cent in favour of a strike mandate.

"With these vote results, we will return to the table determined to achieve a fair and reasonable contract," said Julie Lenko, chair of OPSEU's LHINs central bargaining team. "Those who work in the home and community-care sector do this work because we care about our patients first and foremost, but proper patient care depends on respect for frontline workers."

Negotiations between the LHINS and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) resume Dec. 15.

This is the first round of bargaining for LHINs workers since Queen's Park integrated all of the province's Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) into the LHINs in June 2017, said the union.

OPSEU represents more than 600 community health-care professionals employed by the LHINs across four regions: the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN, the Central East LHIN, the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, and the North East LHIN.

Despite repeated promises from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that the transition would be smooth, the reality at the bargaining table has been anything but, Lenko said.

"We've come in good faith, focused on bargaining basic demands around wages, benefits and layoffs in an effort to protect our members now that transition is complete, and in preparation for more changes that we know are on the horizon," said Lenko. "The demands we've put forward are based on existing template wage rates and industry standards.

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