Toronto – Staff who run blood donor clinics and transport blood and blood products across southern Ontario have given their bargaining team a strike mandate.
In balloting Thursday, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) support workers voted 89 per cent in favour of strike action if it becomes necessary to move negotiations forward. CBS and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) return to the bargaining table December 12.
The strike vote comes after OPSEU members rejected a tentative agreement negotiated in August. Under that agreement, the union had agreed to settle future contract disputes at CBS through interest arbitration.
“The ballots have been counted and the members have spoken,” said Jennifer Johnson, chair of the OPSEU bargaining team. “Listening to what members had to say about the tentative agreement, it is clear that we still have issues to iron out.
“Members feel very strongly that they are not being treated with respect by CBS management, and that is something we hope to address the next time we meet. Our goal is to come out of bargaining with an agreement that our members will be proud to support.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called on CBS to come back to bargaining with an open mind and a willingness to listen.
“There is no question that the blood system is critical to the health and well-being of all Ontarians,” he said. “When workers don’t feel recognized and supported by management in the workplace, the whole system is undermined, and that’s just not acceptable.”
OPSEU represents more than 850 CBS Support workers, including phlebotomists, donor care assistants, donor services representatives, drivers, laboratory assistants, and clerks.
For more information: Andrew Ruszczak, OPSEU negotiator, 416-795-2072