After more than a year of negotiations, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) support workers have rejected a tentative agreement. The recent vote by staff at facilities across Ontario provides a 75% strike mandate.
The union is calling on CBS to make Canada’s blood supply more self-sufficient, stop downsizing, and take serious responsibility for ensuring availability, quality and security of the blood supply.
CBS has recently closed facilities in Thunder Bay, Ontario and in Saint John, New Brunswick. They have also informed staff that Canada’s national blood inventory is at its lowest level since 2008.
“CBS must make Canada’s blood supply a priority,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
“The union believes that shutting down facilities and letting go of staff makes it harder for volunteers to donate blood, and is contributing to the lower blood supply,” said Thomas. “Undermining the remaining workers with lowered job security and part-time positions will only add to the current problems.”
Workers are refusing to accept concessions, and confirming that they are not responsible for the low blood supply. Support staff at CBS are committed to the work they do, however they believe understaffing could be having an effect on the blood inventory.
OPSEU has heard from members that during donation appeals, clinic call-centre staff are swamped. The phones ring off the hook, and there are too few staff to answer all of the calls.
“CBS support workers have rejected this tentative agreement by a large majority. They are committed to ensuring that the new contract with the employer includes secure jobs and fair wages,“ said Thomas.
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