Couriers, mail room clerks and dispatchers based in Mississauga cast their ballots on whether to unionize in the spring.
However procedural wranglings at the Ontario Labour Relations Board prevented their certification from being officially awarded until Nov. 27, 2020.
“Congratulations and welcome to our great union,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “With hundreds of other LifeLabs workers – along with another 170,000 OPSEU/SEFPO members – standing by your side, your days of feeling powerless and alone in the workplace are over.”
LifeLabs, which is wholly owned by the public sector pension plan OMERS, has drawn stiff criticism from OPSEU/SEFPO for its sometimes aggressive anti-union tactics.
But last week, LifeLabs provided “appreciation pay” bonuses to its front-line workers for their heroic efforts during the pandemic. OPSEU is not collecting dues on the bonus money from the more than 250 OPSEU/SEFPO members who work at LifeLabs.
First Vice-President Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida is hopeful LifeLabs is changing its views on unions.
“All we want is for our workers to have the best possible working conditions so they can be as productive as possible,” said Almeida.
The new Mississauga LifeLabs workers are the third group from the company to join OPSEU/SEFPO in the past few months.
Earlier in the fall, another group of dispatchers, clerks and couriers based in Toronto and Oshawa voted to join the union. And then in November, the workers at the LifeLabs Patient Service Centre in Timmins also voted to join OPSEU/SEFPO.
“I’m so pleased that more and more of the dedicated professionals at LifeLabs are choosing to join with us,” said Geoff Cain, the chair of the OPSEU/SEFPO sector dedicated to lab workers. “The more of us standing together in a strong union like OPSEU/SEFPO, the more we’ll all be able to achieve safer working conditions, job security, and decent wages.”