OWEN SOUND, ON, July 11, 2018 /CNW/ - Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida led a large rally earlier today of more than 100 supporters of Local 276 members who are on strike from the Owen Sound Family Health Organization (FHO).
"These strikers are not alone in this fight – far from it," said Almeida during the rally. "Look at this huge crowd – members from OPSEU, Unifor, the OFL and OECTA are all here to say that workers from across Ontario stand together in this fight."
Almeida demanded that doctors in Owen Sound, as well as the Port Arthur Health Centre in Thunder Bay, where frontline workers with Unifor are also on strike, start taking their responsibility to their communities seriously.
"These doctors are asking the province for 15 per cent increases for themselves but refuse to offer anything to their frontline workers," said Almeida. "It's shameful, and Ontarians won't stand for it. I hope these doctors have a higher standard of care for their patients than they do for their staff."
After the rally, Almeida was "shocked but not surprised" that the doctors who own the FHO refused to meet with him, Bob Eaton, Executive Assistant to President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, and Ron Elliot, OPSEU's Administrator of Collective Bargaining.
"Who knows how much money they're spending on their high-priced Toronto lawyers and private security guards," Almeida asked. "They don't want to bargain – they want to break this union. But I can promise them: we will not be broken."
Almeida was later outraged to learn that the doctors are trying to intimidate the workers by hiring Michael Guilfoyle, the retired OPP Detachment Chief for Grey County. "While these workers are courageously exercising their constitutional right to bargain collectively, these doctors are spending a fortune to have a double-dipping retired OPP inspector glaring at them," he said.
"The first responsibility of any doctor is to do no harm. It's time for these doctors to live up to that responsibility."
President Thomas, who has also joined the striking members on the picket line recently, said the doctors should be ashamed of how they continue to treat the striking OPSEU members.
"They want the taxpayers to give them a 15 per cent hike, and they're spending what they get on big league Toronto lawyers and private security guards to try to scare our modestly paid members. Well, it ain't going to fly with Ontarians."
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, 289-439-2135