8/19/10

OPSEU members strike during wage freeze consultations. They deserve our support

In the midst of the first two weeks of consultations over the Ontario government's proposed compensation freeze, members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union have begun a strike for a first contract at Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM). 

After voting 97% in favour of strike action, picket lines went up at the school’s two main campuses in  at Laurentian University in Sudbury and at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.  About 150 clerical, administrative and technical staff are involved.  Outstanding issues include hours of work, overtime, sick leave, family leave, and wages.

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), which has not reported any progress at its discussions with government on the compensation freeze, wrote to the School in solidarity with the strikers.  OCUFA  noted:

Employee compensation is not the cause of the current challenges, and we do not accept that restraint on the part of your support staff will solve them. We will not allow any employers in the university sector to hide behind the cover of externally proposed restraints to avoid their responsibilities to bargain in good faith to conclude an agreement, an obligation that still exists in this province.

Good for OCUFA. 

The Thunder Bay Chronicler Journal  reports that city buses in both Thunder Bay and Sudbury aren‘t crossing the picket lines onto the campuses of Lakehead or Laurentian, and both schools‘ student unions are behind the strikers. In Sudbury, all student union meetings have been taken off-site, while in Thunder Bay, the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU) executive is joining the employees on the line. Laurentian faculty were to present a cheque Tuesday afternoon to help support striking workers, while some Thunder Bay faculty are picketing along with the NOSM employees.

The OPSEU strikers deserve our support, especially in the current circumstances.  All public sector workers have an interest in a successful strike here. 

OPSEU also held their protest this morning on the compensation freeze at a Liberal golf club fundraiser in the Ottawa area.  Another OPSEU protest against Liberal demands is scheduled for September 1, this time in Brampton


dallan@cupe.ca

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