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‘Vastly outnumbered, never outdone’: OPSEU President Thomas

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas
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Kingston – After a two week hospital merger campaign, which pitted union against union, OPSEU is deeply saddened that it must say goodbye to nearly 400 members working at Kingston Health Sciences Centre – this after the results of the representation vote were released today. The final tally totaled 613 votes for OPSEU, and 799 for CUPE – it seems hundreds of CUPE members believed it was time for change.

In April 2017, when Hotel Dieu Hospital and Kingston General Hospital merged, provincial legislation known as the Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act (PSLRTA) triggered a representation vote between OPSEU and CUPE for all RPNs, PCAs, facilities, office, and clerical staff at KHSC’s two sites. Voting took place from May 16 – 18, with final results released this afternoon.

OPSEU which represents nearly 400 members at Kingston Health Sciences Centre was vastly outnumbered by CUPE’s 1400+ members. But according to OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU’s local members were “never outdone.”

“Despite the numbers, our local members never lost hope,” said Thomas. “They campaigned tirelessly and they’ve made our OPSEU family proud.”

“Although the odds were against us, the results of this vote speak volumes to our collective strength and solidarity,” said Thomas. “During this campaign, we heard many concerns from CUPE members around service, financial transparency and accountability, and around intimidation within their local. I believe that we helped to make some inroads here – giving voice to disenfranchised workers, and hopefully inspiring some positive – and necessary – change.

“Thank you to our members on the ground who’ve poured their heart and soul into this campaign, and into this union for many years,” said Thomas. “Your dedication is heartwarming, and you will absolutely be missed. We wish you all the best, and trust that you will be well taken care of in your new union.”

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