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Hamilton Villa Verdi workers face possible May 17 strike/lockout

We the North
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HAMILTON — Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union’s Local 262 at the Ontario March of Dimes Villa Verdi facility could face a possible strike or lockout at 12:01 a.m. May 17.

On April 25, the employer requested a “no-board” report from Ministry of Labour, beginning the countdown towards the May 17 date.

Michael Culkeen, OPSEU negotiator, says that bargaining has stalled due to the employer’s refusal to remove concessions from the bargaining table.

“The employer has tabled concessions in job security, benefits, job posting language and vacation calculation,” Culkeen said. “The employer has also stated that staff will receive absolutely no wage increases unless the concessions are agreed to. In other words, staff must pay for their own wage increase if they want one.

The 45 staff at Villa Verdi assist clients, many who are wheelchair bound, with their daily living needs.

“These employees provide a vital service to people in this community who cannot manage on their own,” says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Instead of recognizing the value of this important work, the employer wants to slash what few benefits these workers have. There haven’t been any real negotiations. The employer adopted a ‘take it or leave it’ stance from Day 1 and hasn’t moved since.”

Bargaining resumes on May 16 and 17 with the assistance of a provincial mediator.

More information:

Bebe Defreitas, OPSEU Staff Representative (905) 536-8774