In Barrie, the LifeLabs employees who belong to OPSEU recently received their retro cheques for the extra income they’ve earned since bargaining their first collective agreement.
For part-timers in Barrie, that cheque was up to $3,000. For full-timers, it was as much as $3,500.
Some of them used those higher unionized wages to pay for vacations they took over the summer, or to catch up on other bills. Some of them put it in the bank for the winter holidays, or into their kids’ college funds. And some of them treated themselves to some well-deserved new clothes or a cellphone that’s not 10 years old.
What do non-unionized LifeLabs employees in Toronto get? Less, not more.
After your co-workers in Barrie decided to join OPSEU and began negotiating fair and regular wage increases, the company claimed it will give you a “market increase” next year. But without a collective agreement, there’s nothing holding LifeLabs to its promises. The company could cancel those promised raises — and there isn’t anything you could do about it.
It’s been like that for years — the company alone decides if and when you get a raise. Your managers say raises are based on “merit,” but without any hard-and-fast rules, it is totally up to their whim. Raises can be given or withheld based solely on who you know or who doesn’t like you.
The hard work of the Barrie workers who decided to unionize is changing all that. They have the power to increase their wages as the cost of living goes up.
They also have the power to protect their sick days (which you’re about to lose), and even to have a say in where they buy their uniforms (which you’re also about to lose).
Imagine all the things you and your co-workers could do with the power you’d get by joining a union.
The work you do is incredibly valuable. Our entire health care system depends on it. But it’s clear: without coming together in a strong union like OPSEU, LifeLabs is going to take unfair advantage of you at every turn.
We understand the pressure you’re under. We understand that LifeLabs has made it clear they will punish anybody who shows an interest in joining a union.
But we’re here to help.
If you’d like to sign an OPSEU card – or even just ask us more questions about OPSEU or the process of forming a union to stand up for yourself and the value of the work you do – please send us a text or email from your personal account. We guarantee discretion.