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OPSEU files unfair labour practice complaint against Owen Sound Family Health Organization owners

Toronto – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union filed an unfair labour practices complaint on Friday against the owners of the Owen Sound Family Health Organization.

The complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board alleges the employer has failed to negotiate in good faith and is making completely unreasonable demands at the bargaining table.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the union has bent over backwards to be reasonable and patient but enough is enough.

“We’ve had it, this is ridiculous,” said Thomas.  “Our members have done everything to avoid a fight and these owners insist on behaving like thugs rather than responsible physicians.”

The OPSEU complaint to the labour board says the employer has made proposals that would result in the layoff of most of the remaining members who have been on strike since May.  It calls on the labour board to force the employer to return to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith.

OPSEU also filed a complaint on Friday with the College of Physicians and Surgeons against the owners of the Family Health Organization and some of their senior administrators over the harassment and some abusive language directed at the striking workers.

The conduct of the employer is shockingly unprofessional and OPSEU is demanding the College hold the clinic owners accountable, said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida.

“I worked for years as a Correctional Officer and I received my share of verbal abuse from inmates, but I have to say I’m shocked by what has come out of the mouths of these doctors,” said Almeida.

“My message to the owners is: you’ve embarrassed yourself and diminished your profession. Fortunately, you represent a small minority of physicians. Owen Sound deserves better.”

OPSEU members are planning to hold a family day and picnic on public land beside the clinic next Wednesday to mark the three month anniversary of the strike and to thank the community for their support. The union was informed on Friday that there will be stepped up security around the clinic.

“They can lay out tens of thousands of dollars and bring in their goon squad for all I care,” said Almeida.  But wouldn’t it be better if they put that money toward a settlement?  I will say this, if our members are harassed or bullied in any way I can assure the owners it will be no picnic for them.”

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