“The hospital is resorting to censorship to prevent our members from speaking up about sexism and injustice.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President OPSEU
Peterborough (17 Dec. 2018) — The President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) says the union won’t be silenced over the Peterborough Regional Health Centre’s attempt to censor radio ads about the wage freeze it’s trying to impose on female clerical workers.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas says OPSEU/NUPGE was informed Thursday that hospital officials contacted at least one radio station running the satirical ad and bullied them into pulling it.
Resorting to censorship
“The hospital is resorting to censorship to prevent our members from speaking up about sexism and injustice,” Thomas said. “Well, it’s not going to be that easy. We will not let the voices of working people be silenced.”
The theme of the satirical ad was loosely based on the children’s story How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It points out that while the hospital’s clerical workers face wage freezes of up to 8 years, CEO Peter McLaughlin’s salary of $400,000-a-year has soared by 21 per cent since 2015. “Peter, your heart is 3 sizes too small while your wallet is 3 sizes too big,” the radio spot concluded.
Treating female workers with contempt
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says that since 98 per cent of the local’s members are women, the hospital’s leadership is being sexist and misogynistic. He is calling on the hospital’s board of directors to fire McLaughlin immediately.
“He treats these women with contempt and when we call him on it, he acts like an overpaid crybaby and starts bullying local radio stations,” said Almeida. “This is an utter failure of leadership, and this CEO should be shown the door.”
Hospital undermining arbitrator's decision
In September, an arbitrator ruled that the members of Local 345 deserve a contract that includes reasonable wage increases over 5 years. Instead, management misused a job evaluation process in an attempt to reclassify the members’ jobs so most face an effective wage rollback.
“We’ve been talking about quality health care at the hospital and decent working conditions for our members. All we’ve heard from management is whining about our ads and trying to gag our members,” said Thomas.
“It’s clear there is a need for regime-change at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. The Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues Lisa MacLeod and Premier Doug Ford need to take action."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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