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Owen Sound health workers willing to strike to improve service to patients, families

Owen Sound – The approximately 30 nurses, receptionists, and custodians in OPSEU Local 276 at the Family Health Organization could be on strike as early as May 22 over the low wages and unfair working conditions that are preventing them from providing quality service and care to thousands of people and families.

“Low wages mean a revolving door for staff, and that hurts patients,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “If the employer doesn’t value the work these members do, it means the employer doesn’t value the care it provides to people and families in Owen Sound.

“I’m proud of these members for standing up for what’s right, and I stand with them.”

The Local 276 members have rejected an offer that would see them paid much less than other Owen Sound health workers.

For example, under the employer’s offer, a registered practical nurse (RPN) at the Family Health Organization would make much less than RPNs at other Owen Sound workplaces, and wouldn’t be eligible for any wage increases based on experience.

“This is incredibly unfair,” said OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “As the treasurer of OPSEU, I know it’s important to keep a tight rein on your budget. But that doesn’t mean throwing basic fairness out the window. That just hurts the quality of service you provide.”

The Family Health Organization is owned by a group of doctors in the Owen Sound area. They’ve given other employees the opportunity for wage increases based on experience, but refuse to offer the same to the members of Local 276.

“It’s time for the doctors to get back to the table and make a fair offer,” said Lucy Morton, an RPN and an OPSEU Regional Vice-President. “The last thing these members want to do is go on strike. But they can’t offer good service when they’re being treated so badly.”

For more information:

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 613-329-1931
OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida: 289-439-2135
OPSEU Vice-President Lucy Morton: 905-317-9464