No deal: Strike continues for OPSEU members in Campbellford

Striking workers at Community Living Campbellford/Brighton welcome donations to their hardship fund.

Campbellford, ON (29 March 2017) — Negotiations between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) and Community Living Campbellford/Brighton (CLCB) failed to produce a deal today, meaning nearly 100 workers in Local 316 are still on strike.

“We worked so hard to ensure we could reach a settlement today,” said Richard Bradley, OPSEU Staff Representative . “We provided the employer with a variety of examples of existing contract language in the sector that we would agree to, but they wouldn’t move.”

The employer’s final offer was rejected by 86 per cent of the membership in a vote on March 21, initiating the strike on March 22.

Workers strike for improved health and safety measures, increased wages

Key issues on the bargaining table are the employer’s demand that staff use their personal vehicles as a condition of their employment, a requirement that has raised significant concerns about liability and health and safety. The employer also refused to improve the “substandard wage package” being offered, Bradley said.

The workers are predominantly women and are determined to negotiate a fair contract. Improvements to their working conditions mean improved care for the people needing care. 

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas was outraged by the news.

“Nobody goes into developmental services to get rich,” he said. “It’s a labour of love, and you can’t put a price on love.  But you can put a price on food. You can put a price on shoes. You can put a price on gasoline, and the wear and tear on your car. If these workers can’t feed themselves and their families, and if they can’t pay the rent, then the people they support won’t receive the appropriate level of care that they deserve."

“This employer clearly fails to understand that. We put on a massive show of solidarity at our rally, and I thank the members who came from across the province to participate. But we’re just getting started. We’re going to have to crank up the pressure — and we will,” Thomas added.

Donations welcome to build hardship fund for strikers

No date is set for further negotiations, and the strike continues until a deal is reached. OPSEU Local 316 is preparing for a longer period on the picket line, and is accepting donations to help build its hardship account. Any assistance provided will help these women reach a reasonable settlement with their employer. 

For anyone who wants to support the workers by joining the picket line, call 613-827-4113 or 416-452-8616. The strike Head Quarters is located at 6 Front Street South.

Donations can be made out payable to OPSEU 316 and sent to the union office at P.O. Box 1821, Campbellford, ON, K0L 1L0. 

OPSEU/NUPGE members at CLCB provide support for adults with intellectual disabilities in Campbellford/Brighton, and the surrounding area.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE