Owen Sound Family Health Organization must start behaving and bargaining responsibly: Thomas

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is flabbergasted by the mean-spirited and potentially unethical smear campaign that the doctors who own the Owen Sound Family Health Organization are mounting against their striking employees.

Thomas expressed dismay that the doctors would release personal medical information to the media about a replacement worker.

“The Ontario government and the appropriate legal and medical regulatory agencies should hold this employer and its high-priced Toronto legal guns accountable,” Thomas said.

“Releasing the medical information of an individual to the media as part of a smear campaign against our members who are lawfully and responsibly picketing is a low blow. I say to these doctors: take the money you’re spending on Toronto lawyers and come back to the table with a fair offer.”

The OPSEU members who work at the health clinic have been on strike since May 22.  The roughly 30 nurses, clerical and custodial staff of Local 276 are simply asking to be paid and treated the same as people doing similar work at other community health clinics.

The strike is similar to a dispute in Thunder Bay at the Port Arthur Health Centre involving members of Unifor.  The Ontario government should take note of these two labour disputes as it negotiates with doctors, who are demanding a 15 per cent increase in their fees, Thomas said.

“We have two groups of underpaid front-line and support workers who are asking for modest wage increases while the already highly paid doctors are demanding much more,” Thomas said.  “I hope the Ford government reminds physicians that the ‘little guy’ deserves to make a living, too.”

Members of Unifor are planning to join striking OPSEU members in Owen Sound for a solidarity rally on Wednesday, July 11.  OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida will be the featured speaker.

“The doctors at Family Health Organization can bring in all the Toronto lawyers they want, but they won’t break the spirit of our members in Owen Sound,” Almeida said.

For more information:  OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida: 289-439-2135