Several members of Unifor Local 1359 braved a cold windchill to bring awareness to unfair bargaining practices from their employer, EllisDon.
EllisDon Facilities Services is a for profit company that is a subcontractor for Sault Area Hospital. The union’s fight isn’t with the hospital.
“we’re hoping that the public understands what is going on here” said ,Cathy Humalamaki, President of Local Unifor 1359. Humalamaki told SaultOnline.com that EllisDon is taking the same route other public service talks are taking and that’s holding the line on pay increases. The company is offering just 1%.
“these members do not work for the hospital , but the company is follow suit with what the hospital negotiates ” Humalamaki said.”They shouldn’t be doing that, they should be doing fair bargaining at the table”
The union has been trying to hammer out a new deal since July 2022. While workers are not subject to the Provincial Bill 124 wage restrictions, the company refuses to move from its offer of a 1% wage increase.
Basically a take-it-or-leave it stance.
Humalamaki believes that is working for the company who is having a hard time retaining staff and hiring new ones because of the low pay.
The maintenance staff work on keeping the hospital equipment as well as the hospital itself operating.
With inflation running at 6.8% the 1% increase amounts to nothing.
“This is our community hospital and these for profit companies that are coming in and running maintenance are trying to profit off the labour. ”
Under Provincial law the members can not strike, because they perform work for the hospital. A bargaining chip the union no longer has.
Because of that, the union is reaching out to the public for support to force EllisDon back to the table and negotiate.
EllisDon provides licensed electricians , skilled trades even plumbers. “we had plumbers, we no longer have any plumbers because the company can’t recruit because they don’t respect and pay plumber’s wages” Humalamaki said.
“We need to negotiate a fair contract for our skilled trades – we’re losing all of our skilled trades , we’re losing all of our nurses, they have to start paying”
The privates sector workers and private sector businesses, paying taxes, have to fund such a wage increase to these public sector unions. In this case, will the private sector people requiring health care see wait times reduced, errors omitted and better service provided, if they fund such an increase?
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