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OPSEU/SEFPO files health and safety appeal to protect members in court

On November 20, 2020, OPSEU/SEFPO filed a health and safety appeal at the Ontario Labour Relations Board following the failure of the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to address ongoing safety complaints lodged by Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) support staff.

OPSEU/SEFPO represents nearly 6,000 members with MAG. Most are women and/or contract staff working in some way to support the court system.

The ministry’s MERC and locals have been working hard to raise important health and safety issues affecting these members. Some progress has been made on some issues, both locally and at a provincial level. However, the employer has failed to engage with the union in a meaningful way on some critical issues, and too many recommendations from JHSCs to the employer have been dismissed outright.

“With health and safety top of everyone’s mind these days,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, “we’re asking Attorney General Doug Downey and his government to respond to the concerns our members continue to raise – immediately, before more of our members get sick, or worse.”

OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida pointed out that no worker should feel unsafe on the job.

“Without a court system, there’s no administration of justice,” he said. “The Attorney General has a serious responsibility to keep our members safe – period. Let’s get them all the protection they need and deserve, just like anyone else. That’s the most basic form of justice.”