Locked-out OPSEU members of Local 262 were joined today by CUPE members of Local 966 in a protest outside of the Ontario March of Dimes headquarters to demand an end to a lock out affecting the OPSEU members at the agency’s Oakville housing complex. The lock-out is now into its second week.
More than 50 union members were greeted by speakers including Myles Magner, OPSEU executive board member for Region 5 EBM, Lucy Morton, EBM for Region 2, CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn and Marie Clarke Walker, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress. They called for a suspension of charitable donations to the March of Dimes.
“On behalf of OPSEU’s executive board, we pledge that OPSEU will spread the word about the March of Dimes and their unconscionable demand that our members accept a three-year wage freeze,” said Magner. “If the March of Dimes thinks it can bully its workers to work for less, we will be asking members of the public that might have been thinking about donating to the March of Dimes this pre-holiday season, then they should think again.”
As management watched from the sidelines protesters cried out “shame” when bargaining team member s Jolene Schotsman and Carolyn LaFee described the list of concessions that the Oakville workers face, which, apart from the wage freeze, also include a cut to vacation and benefit entitlements and elimination of the one day per year they are granted for compassionate leave.
Workers ended the lively noon hour rally with dancing and thanked workers from other units who attended including OPSEU members from Locals 740 Community Living Thunder Bay and Local 676 Community Living Sudbury, and members from OPSEU’s Greater Toronto Area Council.