Bloodlines, Issue 9: CBS workers in Ontario are now essential service workers
Publication DateWednesday, May 16, 2018 - 2:45pm
Ontario Budget passes
As you may know, on May 8, the government passed the Ontario Budget through the Plan for Care and Opportunity Act (Budget Measures), 2018. The act includes a section, Schedule 12, designating Canadian Blood Services employees as essential service workers.
What does this mean?
This means the government has deemed the work you do as essential to public health and safety. It also means that all future bargaining rounds will fall under the Hospital Labour Disputes and Arbitration Act (HLDAA). Any disputes that cannot be resolved at the bargaining table will be put in front of an arbitrator for a final and binding decision.
There are no other changes as a result of being declared an essential service.
How did this happen?
Please note that this new legislation deeming CBS employees essential service workers has nothing to do with the bargaining process or with the union. It came solely from the Liberal government. However, we believe the employer has been pressuring the government over the last several years to get the essential service designation.
The right to strike was much discussed during this past round of bargaining. Our members were very clear that they wanted to maintain this right.
The Ontario Budget was presented after bargaining had concluded. In it was a section dealing with essential services designation for all CBS employees in Ontario. OPSEU made a submission to the government to reconsider this legislation, stressing the fact that our members spoke loud and clear when the first tentative agreement, which involved a piece on voluntary interest arbitration, was rejected.
What can we do?
Unfortunately, nothing at this time. We are bound by the government’s decision. But we are not alone: we join CBS employees in four other provinces who have already been declared essential.