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Canadian Blood Services workers reach tentative deal

Toronto – The bargaining team representing more than 850 Canadian Blood Services (CBS) support workers, represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), has reached a new tentative settlement with the employer. The workers have been without a collective agreement since their last contract expired on March 31, 2017.

The deal comes in the wake of a previous tentative deal that members turned down. Under that agreement, contract disputes would have been settled through interest arbitration.

“The members spoke loudly and clearly,” said bargaining team chair Jennifer Johnson. “They wanted to keep their right to strike. We heard them, and we were able to preserve that right. And there’s lots more to celebrate in this new tentative deal.

“We’ve made substantial gains, which build on all the gains made in the previous settlement. In terms of wages, workers will see increases of 1.75 per cent in each year of the contract. In addition, drivers will receive a $1 hourly increase, even as an evaluation of their position will continue.

“I’m also delighted that all members will get double time for hours worked on Sunday,” Johnson continued. “This will benefit hundreds of members required to work on Sundays. Further, all part-time, casual and temporary workers will get two paid days of personal emergency leave each year. Full-time workers will get three days, only one of which will be deducted from their sick-time bank.”

Johnson added the employer will hire five full-time donor care associates for the Local 5103 area – one that is particularly lacking in full-time staff.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas hailed the tentative agreement as an example of the success that comes from solidarity, perseverance – and belonging to a powerful union.

“These workers displayed a remarkable level of unity that allowed them to speak with a single, strong voice,” he said. “They refused to settle for a good agreement – they wanted a great one. And with a 150,000-member union to back them, their goal became reality.

“I thank and congratulate the tireless bargaining team, OPSEU staff and our CBS members, and I look forward to the ratification vote.”

For more information: Jennifer Johnson, 416-529-6608