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Service and clerical staff opt for OPSEU at Providence Care

We the North
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Kingston – Service and clerical staff at Providence Care have chosen the Ontario Public Service Employees Union as their bargaining agent.

The staff, who work in a wide range of occupations, chose OPSEU over the Canadian Federation of National Independent Unions, an offshoot of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

“I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone at Providence Care who voted, whether they voted for us or not,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “I promise you we will do everything in our power to make sure service and clerical staff receive union representation that is second to none.

“To the OPSEU members and staff who campaigned so hard to get the word out about our fantastic union, thank you, too,” he said. “The long hours you put in paid off.”

In a separate vote, Registered Nurses chose the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) over OPSEU.

“To say I am disappointed is a huge understatement, but the great thing about Ontario is that workers are free to choose,” Thomas said. “We accept the nurses’ decision, but to ONA I say, take good care of our members.”

Both votes became necessary after St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital and Providence Care Mental Health Services merged.

OPSEU already represented allied health professionals at the hospital prior to this week’s vote.

The vote had special significance to Thomas, whose home position as a Registered Practical Nurse is in the service and clerical unit at Providence Care.

“I’ve been OPSEU President since 2007, and I was First Vice-President Treasurer for six years before that,” he said, “but I’ve never left my home in OPSEU Local 431, and I’ve never stayed away from Kingston for long.

“I never will.”

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