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OPSEU lodges bad-faith bargaining complaint over wage freezes at Peterborough hospital

Peterborough – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has filed a bad-faith bargaining complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board over the wage freeze management is attempting to impose on the group of largely female clerical workers at Peterborough’s main hospital.

“In September, an arbitrator ruled the members of OPSEU Local 345 deserve a contract that includes reasonable wage increases over five years,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “But it’s clear now that management never intended to honour the arbitrator’s ruling. They’re trying to use a secretive and suspect job evaluation process to weasel out of the contract.”

“It’s a textbook case of bad-faith bargaining and we’re not going to let it stand.”

OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says the entire province should be outraged that managers at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) are trying to rollback the wages of a local that is made up almost entirely of women.

“This is an attack on women, pure and simple,” said Almeida. “OPSEU Local 345 is 98 per cent women, and it’s the only local at the hospital that’s being targeted with a wage freeze.

“We’re fighting this every way we can, but if the provincial government is truly committed to equality, it should also be stepping in. The Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, Lisa MacLeod, must make clear to all employers that women can’t be targeted with wage rollbacks and cuts.”

Almeida also called for Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy to do the right thing for OPSEU members at the PRHC. “The minister has made it clear he pulls the purse strings and he must intervene and right this injustice immediately.”

Thomas and Almeida will be joining Local 345 members for a rally against the wage freeze on Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in front of the hospital.

“I want to thank the members of Local 345, and all the other union locals at the hospital, and around the city, for taking such a strong stand against this attack,” said Thomas. “We’re going to make sure that everybody in Peterborough knows what management is trying to do to these women.

“The hospital’s CEO saw his wages go up by 21 per cent between 2015 and 2017. He now makes nearly $400,000 a year,” said Thomas. “People are disgusted that while he’s enjoying big raises, he’s targeting the modest wages of women who keep the hospital from grinding to a halt.”  

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

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