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OPSEU President calls on Owen Sound doctors to end strike with a decent offer

OWEN SOUND – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is pleased the owners of the Owen Sound Family Health Organization (OSFHO) are finally returning to the table today, but says the onus is on them to end the strike by making a decent offer.

“Throughout this strike, our members and their many supporters have been firm in their resolve that the status quo is not an option,” said Thomas. “It’s impossible for the patients and families of Owen Sound to get quality care when there is constant staff turnover because of low wages and toxic working conditions.

“The owners have a responsibility to address the very real and very serious issues that are at the heart of this strike. And until they do, the strike will continue.”

After four years of no wage increases, and an offer that would have seen their take-home pay stagnate for another three years, the members of OPSEU Local 276 went on strike on May 22. 

OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says the millionaire doctors who own the clinic could have ended the strike weeks ago.

“Who knows how much money the owners have wasted on private security guards, high-priced Toronto lawyers, and a failed attempt to get a court injunction curtailing the workers’ constitutional rights?” asked Almeida. “If they’d just used some of that money to make a decent offer, the picket lines would already be gone, and people in Owen Sound would already be getting the quality of health care they received before the strike.

“It’s time for the owners to get their priorities straight and start putting patients before profits.”

Thomas warned the doctors not to keep underestimating the workers and their union, or the growing community support.

“These workers are not asking for the moon but they’re not going to accept scraps,” said Thomas. “They’ve got too much respect for themselves and the work they do. And they can count on the continued strong support of their union and their community.”

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