OPSEU protests managers crossing picket lines
In a show of solidarity with striking members of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) at Community Living Campbellford/Brighton (CLCB), OPSEU Local 448 hosted a picket Wednesday afternoon at Pathways to Independence to protest managers being sent to cross picket lines.
More than 100 OPSEU members turned out for the information picket while earlier in the day another picket was hosted by Local 403 at Community Living Quinte West on Canal Street in Trenton.
“We condemn crossing picket lines as these managers are doing. This information picket is about ensuring the managers at Pathways to Independence know they aren’t avoiding scrutiny, and that their own employees don’t support their actions,” said OPSEU Local 316 bargaining team member Courtney Huycke. “These managers are prolonging the strike and sacrificing quality of care for the people CLCB supports.”
Nearly 100 OPSEU members at CLCB have been on strike since March 22. Wages and transportation are two key sticking points in the negotiations, which failed to produce an agreement when the parties last met March 28. CLCB is demanding the workers accept real wage cuts, and insisting staff agree to use their own cars as a condition of employment, which has raised concerns of cost, liability, and health and safety.
“The employer is trying to create divisions between members and the people we care for,” said Huycke. “But it isn’t working. The people we care for support us, and their families do, too. We know this because they have been reaching out to us since this strike started.”
OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas was outraged by the news. “Nobody goes into developmental services to get rich,” Thomas 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 is showing a blatant disrespect for my members, and disregard for their safety as well as that of the people they support,” Thomas said. “These members will have the full support of all 130,000 members of OPSEU, for as long as it takes to make this employer see reason.”
New radio ads hit the airwaves April 6 to rally community support for striking union members at CLCB.
“People can see that we just want to get back to work, and it’s the employer who isn’t allowing that to happen,” said Huycke. “The ads are aimed at telling supporters exactly how they can show their support to help us put an end to this strike.”
The 30-second radio ad being featured on stations across Campbellford, Brighton, and the surrounding area invites people to visit respectforcaregivers.ca to find out how they can support the strikers.
More than 100 members of OPSEU took part in an information picket hosted Wednesday by Local 448 at Pathways to Independence on Pinnacle Street in Belleville.