Yet another group of workers at the private sector lab company LifeLabs has voted to join OPSEU/SEFPO, this time at the LifeLabs Patient Service Centre in Timmins.
“Congratulations and welcome to our great union,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “We know how important your work is, especially during this pandemic. And we know how frustrating and challenging your work can be when you don’t feel like you have a real voice with your employer.
“But with 170,000 other OPSEU/SEFPO members now standing with you, your managers will listen when you speak.”
By voting nearly unanimously to become OPSEU/SEFPO members, the Timmins LifeLabs workers join a growing number of LifeLabs workers in the Barrie and Toronto areas who’ve also chosen OPSEU/SEFPO over the past few years. And most of the LifeLabs workers in British Columbia belong to the British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU), which is affiliated with OPSEU/SEFPO.
“Health and safety is a huge concern for lab and lab collection workers all over the world right now,” said Geoffrey Cain, the chair of the OPSEU/SEFPO sector dedicated to lab workers. “Belonging to a union as strong as OPSEU/SEFPO is key to ensuring that an employer like LifeLabs is putting the safety of you and your clients before its profit margin.
Since LifeLabs workers in Ontario started joining OPSEU/SEFPO, management at the company – which is wholly owned by the unionized public sector worker pension plan OMERS — has adopted a number of aggressively anti-union tactics to intimidate and prevent its other workers from exercising their Constitutional rights. These tactics have included prohibiting workers from going to the bathroom together, making promises that weren’t kept or weren’t kept for long, and forming “SWAT Teams” to stamp out organizing efforts.
But that hasn’t stopped workers from signing OPSEU/SEFPO cards and pushing for unionization. Along with the successful certification vote by the Timmins workers, a group of workers in the Brampton area is also expecting certification votes to be counted soon.
“It’s shocking that a company owned by the pension plan of unionized workers is fighting so hard to stop its own workers from unionizing,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “But our union is as persistent as it is strong, and we’ll keep on fighting to ensure that all LifeLabs workers who want to join us will be able to join us.”