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Thursday, July 12, 2018

More Picketers At Owen Sound Health Team

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

Picket lines outside the Owen Sound Family Health Team building had an increased presence Wednesday.

Picket lines outside the Owen Sound Family Health Team building had an increased presence Wednesday.

Some 30 striking clerical, custodial and nursing workers of Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 276 were joined by other local unions and staff from the OPSEU head office on the sidewalks and public property adjacent to the Family Health Team building.

Picketers continuously paced the sidewalk near the parking lot entrance to the Family Health Team building, causing vehicles entering and exiting to be held up.

Last week, lawyers representing the Owen Sound Family Health Organization (OSFHO) threatened to file an injunction for actions restricting traffic flow, saying it violates a strike protocol agreement.

OPSEU's first vice-president and treasurer Eduardo Almeida was among those joining striking Owen Sound staff on the picket lines today, and says he knows of no injunction.

"When Toronto lawyers come into communities like this, people should start asking themselves questions," Almeida says. "You have to go and spend these tens of thousands of dollars ... they should have taken that money and spent it on the people that actually live and work in this community."

"This is not something that's new, unions setting up picket lines," continues Almeida. "We've been doing this for years and we know what we're doing. And quite frankly, they should know what they're doing."

In a document supplied to Bayshore Broadcasting News by OSFHO, Almeida was listed as a recipient of the email that threatened an injunction.

A call to the lawyer's office representing OSFHO for comment went unreturned by deadline.

It's been more than seven weeks since unionized workers at the Family Health Team walked off the job on May 22.

There has still been no bargaining talks between the two sides since the strike action began.

Union members rejected a proposal that offered one per cent raises annually -- up to five per cent for some employees -- but reduced the employer's pension contributions.

"All we're asking for is that they hold the line in regards to the treatment of their pension plan and that they're given a fair wage," Almeida says. "The doctors in there are asking for a 15 per cent increase on wages that are substantially greater than what our members make."

"I don't think it's unfair for our members to ask for a slight wage increase and, again, that they have a pension plan."

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