Rallies against contract over-rides pick up steam

Well attended rallies against Bill 195 have now been held in Kenora, Fort Frances, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, North Bay, Kingston, Ottawa and Stratford. Bill 195 over-rides certain key aspects of the contracts of 500,000 public sector employees for a period of up to 3 years.

The rallies are a joint effort between OCHU, CUPE Ontario and the OFL, but unions like Unifor, SEIU, OPSEU, PSAC, USWA, IATSE have participated along with local labour councils.

Join the provincial rally Oct. 28 in Toronto. 

Bill 195 rights may only be used if there are COVID-19 cases: union 

Bill 195 over-rides certain parts of the contracts of hospital, long term care, community healthcare, social service and municipal employees for a period of up to 3 years.

However, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE has taken the position, based on legal advice, that these over-rides can only be used in a workplace which is in a COVID-19 outbreak.

OCHU/CUPE has sent letters to the CEO’s of all of the hospitals and long term care facilities where we have members putting the institutions on notice that it is our position that exercising Bill 195 rights in a facility with no COVID-19 cases would be unlawful and that we will take legal action. 

Pandemic Pay Grievances

The union is co-ordinating grievances across Ontario on pandemic pay. The most common are grievances where classifications that the government has said are eligible are denied the premium.

Another set of grievances has to do with hospitals which are only paying pandemic pay for hours spent in direct contact with COVID-19 cases.

Unfortunately the union is unable to grieve to make an employee that the government has deemed not eligible for pandemic pay, eligible.

The law firm of Goldblatt Partners is helping the union to argue these grievances at arbitration. 

Make N-95 masks in both Brockville and Oshawa 

OCHU/CUPE, Green Jobs Oshawa and the Canadian Federation of Nurses’ Unions have issued a statement in response to the federal/Ontario governments’ media release that 3M will make N-95 masks in Brockville. Production doesn’t begin at the Brockville plant until next spring.

The groups call on government to order General Motors (which makes the N-95 mask in Warren Michigan) to also produce it in Oshawa. We ask also that the COVID-19 virus be treated as airborne and that the N-95 mask be provided to anyone working near an actual or suspected case of COVID-19.