OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas led a large group of OPSEU members and local labour allies during a rally outside the Peterborough Regional Health Centre on Dec. 11 to demand that the CEO halt a wage freeze targeted at women.
The members of OPSEU Local 345, 98 per cent of whom are women, learned earlier this month that most of them are facing wage freezes for up to eight years.
“Eight years!” said Thomas to the crowd. “Eight years of falling behind the cost of living. Eight years of having to make do with less.
“The bosses don’t have to make do with less. After a 21 per cent wage increase over three years, the CEO makes nearly $400,000 a year. And now he has the gall to tell women they have to make do with less.”
“Well, I’ve got a message for the CEO: this wage freeze IS NOT going to happen.”
Thomas was joined at the rally by Region 3 Regional Vice President Sara Labelle and Region 3 Executive Board Members Tracy Vyfschaft and Janel Perron. Region 1 Regional Vice President Len Elliott and Region 2 Regional Vice President Lucy Morton were also on-hand, as was Region 2 Executive Board Member Drew Finucane.
Local 345 President Dani Steenburgh led a large contingent of her local’s members, including Marion Burton, who is the President of the Peterborough and District Labour Council. OPSEU Local 373, made up of hospital professionals at PRHC, were also out in force to show solidarity, as were members of CUPE, ONA, and Unifor.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for the work you do every day,” said Thomas. “The members of Local 345 care deeply about what they do. Their work is as vital as any doctor’s, any nurse’s, or any lab tech’s.
“Without their experience, expertise, and dedication, the hospital would grind to a halt. Without clerks, nothing works.”