“Making the move to representation is a significant step. When they take that step together, it bodes extremely well for the future effectiveness of this local union." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Cambridge (13 Sept. 2017) — The 21 security guards who help ensure that Cambridge Memorial Hospital remains a safe place for patients, staff, and visitors have voted unanimously to join the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE). The guards are employed by SP+ Security, which Cambridge Memorial has hired to provide security services.
Workers join union to improve working conditions, health and safety, and wages
“These workers had long considered unionizing but, for one reason or another, hadn’t taken the initial step,” said Chad Ravary, an organizer with OPSEU/NUPGE. “The catalyst was a 240,000-square-foot expansion at Cambridge Memorial. The hospital announced it had no plans to request more staff to effectively patrol all that extra space.”
This was not their sole concern, however. “The guards noticed they weren’t getting the same treatment as guards at other hospitals. For example, they weren’t given protective equipment, like safety boots and vests, which can be lifesavers when confronted with a violent patient or visitor."
“They also saw that they weren’t getting paid as much as other guards,” added Ravary. “Certainly, they’re seeking wages in line with other hospital security services. And they’re looking for some kind of say in the workplace. Right now, their concerns tend to be ignored.”
Unanimous decision to join OPSEU/NUPGE
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President, said he was very pleased that the vote to join the union was unanimous. “Making the move to representation is a significant step,” he noted. “When they take that step together, it bodes extremely well for the future effectiveness of this local union."
“I’m also delighted to see that OPSEU/NUPGE continues to diversify,” said Thomas. “Increasing numbers of Ontario workers are seeing the excellent outcomes of our representation — and they, too, want to benefit from it."
“I wish these workers with SP+ Security a warm welcome to OPSEU/NUPGE and assure them they’ll have all the help they need as they negotiate their first collective agreement," said Thomas.
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