Members of OPSEU Local 262 at the March of Dimes in Oakville have decisively rejected their employer’s latest contract offer following a vote late last week.
March of Dimes locked-out the workers on Oct. 28 as part of its take-it-or-leave-it strategy to have the workers agree to an offer that would erode wages and benefits, and impose language changes to the collective agreement to essentially strip workers of their rights.
“We decided to ask the workers to vote on the latest offer after the employer’s negotiator, Chris Harrison went to the picket line and indicated to some of the workers that we were hiding the latest offer from them,” said bargaining team member Jolene Schotsman.
The workers from the unit gave a loud cheer when the results of the vote were announced. “We deserve a better contract than this,” said bargaining team member Carolyn LaFee. “The CEO got a 13 per cent wage increase last year yet they demand we take concessions”
OPSEU President Smokey Thomas vowed to help get the message out about this “non-profit” charity. “The March of Dimes appears to be in the business to profit from people with disabilities,” he said. “According to the employer’s most recent financial statement, the agency now has $30 million in assets and made $2.3 million in profits since 2010.”
The March of Dimes spends millions of dollars to solicit for tax-free donations at the same time that it is funded by the Ontario government to provide services to people with disabilities.
The workers remain locked-out but more determined than ever to bargain a decent contract.