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LifeLabs workers in Toronto and Oshawa join OPSEU despite employer’s union-busting tactics

OPSEU flag in front of LifeLabs building
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Toronto – Despite their employer’s heavy-handed union-busting campaign, nearly 100 LifeLabs workers in Toronto and Oshawa have voted in favour of joining OPSEU. 

“I always say congratulations to our new members, but these workers deserve extra praise and recognition for their courage and resolve. They faced down one of the most anti-union companies I’ve ever seen, and now they’ve won,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

“From CEO Charlie Brown down to its managers, LifeLabs will pull every trick in the book to keep its workers from exercising their Constitutional right to join a union: intimidation, misinformation, and desperate legal roadblocks at every turn,” said Thomas. 

“But these couriers saw through all of the bluster and BS and they voted Yes to OPSEU. It’s a great day for them, and it’s a great day for our union – we’re that much stronger with them.” 

The new group of OPSEU members at the privatized medical collection and testing company work as couriers, clerks, dispatchers, and in the mailroom. A similar group of LifeLabs workers in Mississauga and Richmond Hill voted on joining OPSEU in May, but LifeLabs is blocking their votes from being counted over minor procedural issues. It’s just the latest in a long list of union-busting tactics used by the company. 

After its workers in the Barrie area joined OPSEU in 2017, LifeLabs managers formed a “SWAT team” to intimidate and prevent its workers in Toronto – many of them racialized women – from joining OPSEU. And last year, managers suspended the President of the OPSEU local representing the Barrie workers.   

“People across Ontario depend on the frontline workers at LifeLabs, especially during this pandemic. They’re risking their lives to keep us safe, but the company attacks them when they try to fight for decent wages and job security,” said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “Senior management should spend less time harassing their workers and more time stopping the huge privacy breaches that have landed it in so much hot water.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas 613-329-1931