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‘Worth the wait’: Grand River professionals finally join OPSEU


Kitchener – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) just got stronger as 140 lab professionals at Grand River Hospital (GRH) voted yesterday to join the province’s most effective public service union.

A number of concerns led the workers to seek membership in OPSEU. In particular, a rapid turnover in management had led to a lack of coherence in workplace and scheduling practices. The lab professionals wanted to have a stabilizing and consistent voice in the way their workplace operated.

Sara Labelle, OPSEU Hospital Professionals Division Chair, said she was delighted – but not really surprised – that GRH lab professionals had voted to join OPSEU.

“This wasn’t the first time they’d tried to join us,” said Labelle. “In 2010, as part of a large number of paramedical and allied health professionals, they lobbied hard to make the move to OPSEU, but ultimately it didn’t pan out. So when I met them in June, they already felt like family. Their six-year wait is over, and now it’s official.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas was also very pleased by the results of the vote. “I was trained as a nurse and worked in a hospital for many years. So when I hear that hospital professionals have joined OPSEU, I’m particularly happy, because I know the kinds of challenges they face.

“Across Ontario,” Thomas continued, “lab professionals struggle with crushing workloads, unfair scheduling practices and, of course, the ever-present threat of privatization. Not only have the lab professionals at GRH given themselves a strong voice within their workplace, but they’ll also enjoy the solidarity that comes with joining thousands of other lab professionals who proudly belong to OPSEU.

“I thank them for the confidence they’ve placed in us and wish them a very warm welcome to the OPSEU family.”

Serving the greater Waterloo region since 1895, GRH is a 567-bed facility that employs 3,300 staff members, as well as some 600 physicians, nurse practitioners and midwives.

For more information: Sara Labelle, 905-914-4037