CUPE 1750, representing workers at Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)After two months of bargaining, workers at the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA) voted 97.3% in favour of strike action as bargaining reaches a critical point.

The Ontario Compensation Employees Union (OCEU/CUPE 1750) bargaining team, representing 154 health & safety trainers and support workers, continued negotiations with the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) hoping that the members’ near-unanimous strike vote would help achieve a fair deal. After many days of bargaining, the parties have not been able to reach an agreement.

“These workers lost 10 per cent of their purchasing power over the last three years under Bill 124. That wasn’t just or fair. At the same time, the IHSA employees generated a more than $3.5 million surplus,” said Harry Goslin, President OCEU/CUPE 1750. “Over the same timeframe it appears the IHSA management enjoyed superior wage increases. Not addressing the real impact of inflation and employee priorities will ultimately hurt 155,000 Ontario employers and over 800,000 workers.”

OCEU/CUPE 1750 members train workers in a variety of high-risk sectors, including construction, utilities, transportation, and others. These employees also evaluate and audit workplaces, ensuring employers are implementing industry best practices to protect worker health and safety. Last year alone, these employees trained more than 84,000 Ontario workers.

IHSA’s numerous training programs are designed and taught by industry experts with years of real-world experience. They equip workers with the knowledge they need to stay safe on the job and return home at the end of each day.

“With a participation rate of 96%, the IHSA employees have sent a powerful message. Our members voted for job action because they know that respect in the workplace must improve. In light of that overwhelming solidarity, I’d hoped the IHSA leadership including the Board of Directors would display the leadership and vision needed to find a path forward that invests in their own workers and the health and safety of Ontario workers,” said Goslin. “IHSA is a critical service for our province, and while we are reluctant to commence job action, we will not permit the employer to take advantage of the good will of their committed employees.”

OCEU/CUPE 1750 remains committed to remain at the table for meaningful negotiations.