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LifeLabs, striking workers to resume bargaining

Toronto – Some 160 newly unionized LifeLabs couriers and mailroom clerks will return to the bargaining table on Thursday. The workers are represented by OPSEU/SEFPO and have been on strike since March 14.

“I’m glad to hear LifeLabs is ready to sit down with us again at the bargaining table,” said OPSEU/SEFPO Local 5119 President Mahmood Alawneh. “I think they realize we’re serious about getting a decent, living wage and know they have to bargain in good faith.”

LifeLabs’ couriers collect samples from offices and deliver them to the laboratory for analysis. Couriers at three GTA LifeLabs locations voted to join OPSEU/SEFPO in 2020. The two sides have failed to reach a first collective agreement, leading to the strike.

“These hardworking people average about $35,000 a year in the most expensive city in Canada,” noted OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “Many of them work two or three jobs just to make ends meet. That’s no way to live, and it’s not fair to their kids.

“I hope LifeLabs comes across with a meaningful offer that recognizes the cost of living in Toronto so we can end this strike.”

OPSEU/SEFPO has a rally planned for Thursday morning at LifeLabs’ head office in Toronto in support of the workers.

OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said he is cautiously optimistic that LifeLabs is ready to address workers’ needs in a first collective agreement.

“Our members have proven they’ll go to the wall for a decent wage that helps them buy groceries and pay the rent, and also give them some kind of quality of life with their families,” he said. “LifeLabs must come back to the table with an open mind so we can reach a fair first contract.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; OPSEUCommunications@opseu.org