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OPSEU: beware the bad-boss hall of shame

Warren (Smokey) Thomas speaking
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TORONTO – After successfully pushing back against a number of employers who tried to lay off workers or cut their benefits during the COVID-19 crisis, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has a warning for all employers: beware of the bad-boss hall of shame.

“OPSEU will not allow bad bosses to kick workers to the ‘CERB’,” said Thomas, referring to the federal government’s upcoming relief payments of $2,000 a month, the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB). “This pandemic is hitting front line workers hard. Our members are out there every day risking their own health and the health of their families in order to provide vital services.

“Every time we hear of a bad employer trying to take advantage of them, we will name them and shame them in the ‘bad boss hall of shame.’”

Over the past week, OPSEU has forced a series of employers to back off on decisions that would have left vulnerable workers even more vulnerable:

  • The union forced Canadian Blood Services to reverse its decision not to provide all of its workers with protective masks.
  • We forced the multinational Honeywell to backtrack on a plan to lay off hospital maintenance workers.
  • And just today, we forced the Ottawa Hospital to rescind a decision to strip its part time and casual workers of paid sick time.

“There’s never a good time for a bad boss, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “As the treasurer, I know how to read a balance sheet. And that means I know that few public sector employers are facing any kind of financial shortfall because of COVID-19 — they’re fully funded.

“They have no cause to lay workers off or cut their benefits. And they have no excuse for trying to shift their own costs to the taxpayers by telling their workers to go and apply for the federal relief coming in the form of CERB. We won’t tolerate any of it.”

For more information:

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931