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BARRIE – The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has filed charges with the Ontario Labour Board following interference by the hospital in a union drive. “Royal Victoria Hospital has continually interfered with employee rights by chasing CUPE organizing staff off the property,” says CUPE Organizing Representative Dave Michor.

On February 18, 2002, starting at 6:30 a.m., four CUPE organizers were leafleting the staff parking lot at RVH. CUPE maintained a peaceful and respectful distribution. The RVH security officers attempted to intimidate the CUPE organizers with threats of legal charges for trespassing.

This action of the hospital is unprecedented,” says Michael Hurley, President of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Union (OCHU). “We have a very clear right to provide information to these workers and the right of access to information is guaranteed by the Ontario Labour Relation Act (OLA), which supercedes the provisions of the trespass act. This is nothing but an intimation tactic by the hospital. Our organizers have taken great pains to ensure our material is only being distributed to staff and not to patients and family – the hospital is clearly at fault here.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is currently running an organizing drive at the Royal Victoria Hospital, in Barrie Ontario. A number of non-union Office Clerical workers have shown an interest in joining CUPE. This includes filing clerks, medical transcribers, ward clerks, receptionists, secretaries, payroll clerks and others.

Currently the RVH has 3 other unions, ONA representing the Registered Nurses, OPSEU representing the technologists and SEIU representing service workers. But the approximate 150 office clerical workers remain non-union.

Leafleting is a standard method of providing information to workers. A non-union workers right to access information about joining a union is guaranteed under the Ontario Labour Relations Act, enabling non-union workers to decide if joining a union is the right choice for their workplace.

RVH has continually interfered with the rights to information of these non-union workers by removing bulletins, and chasing CUPE organizing staff off the property.

By 7:30 a.m. the RVH security officers had placed one CUPE representative under “arrest”, using the threat of handcuffs and forceful confinement. RVH then contacted the Barrie Police Force.

In cooperation with the Barrie Police, CUPE vacated the property, notifying the police officers of CUPE’s intent to return with further leafleting. No charges were laid by the Barrie Police.

CUPE will not be intimidated by this employer – we are coming back on Thursday morning to the staff parking lot at the RVH site to distribute our material, we can fight the legal issues in front of the Labour Board another day,” challenged Hurley.

CUPE currently represents over 28,000 full time and part time Hospital workers across the province. CUPE hospital workers have an experienced bargaining team representing workers at over 75 Ontario hospitals through our Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).

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MEDIA AVAILABILITY

CUPE will hold an information session for the media at the Barrie Area CUPE Office,

64 Cedar Pointe Drive #1407, at 12:00 noon, Thursday, February 21st, 2002.

For further information, please contact:
David Michor, CUPE National Organizing,
905-975-6770