Toronto – OPSEU has won a decisive victory in an arbitration award that will improve wages and benefits for over 230 medical laboratory staff at SickKids Hospital after a hard-fought battle for their first collective agreement.
Over 230 laboratory technologists, technicians and assistants, phlebotomists, test development technologists, resource technologists and senior resource technologists will receive pay increases of 1.4 per cent retroactive to April 1, 2016 and 1.4 per cent retroactive to April 1, 2017, under the new agreement which expires in 2020.
It also ends an arbitrary hospital practice of granting vastly different wage rates to employees doing the same job, often without any regard to years of service. As of September 2017, OPSEU members will be placed on a hospital central wage grid that takes years of service into account, resulting in additional retroactive wage increases of up to 24 per cent for those that are behind.
The change will have no impact on members who have already secured higher wages. A further 1.4 per cent increase retroactive to April 1, 2018 and an additional 1.75 per cent increase starting April 1, 2019 was also awarded by the arbitrator.
The 4.5-year agreement includes other significant wins for members, such as improved vacation, greater job security, extra bereavement leave and a premium if their schedule is changed with less than 48 hours’ notice.
“Patient care in hospitals would grind to a halt without lab staff, but they don’t receive enough recognition for the important work that they do,” said Natacha Mosler, president of Local 5114 and chair of the bargaining team. “This agreement ensures they get the respect they deserve.”
The OPSEU bargaining team worked hard and spent countless days in an effort to reach the best possible agreement for its members, refusing to settle for less. The arbitrator’s award vindicates the union’s position.