HamiltonThe restructuring of area hospitals has resulted in new challenges and stresses for thousands of local health care workers and it is crucial that workers are protected by strong collective agreements with solid job security and contracting out language, said Sid Ryan the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) at a forum today attended by health care workers. These workers are among thousands of Hamilton hospital employees voting on Wednesday, March 28, on which union will represent them at the bargaining table.
The workplace representation votes, are taking place as a result of reconfigured bargaining units since psychiatric services were downloaded from the province last November. CUPE currently represents 81 per cent or 1,350 of the area hospitals service employees.
Ryan urged the health care workers to vote for CUPE for a strong voice at the bargaining table. CUPE represents more than 40,000 health care workers province-wide. In addition to the clout of being a member of the biggest union in Ontario, membership in CUPE will also give health care workers extra clout through coordinated bargaining under the umbrella of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).
He also stressed that the grassroots democratic structure of CUPE, provides locals with decision-making autonomy.
The representation vote beginning tomorrow, is the first of several representation votes in the Hamilton hospital sector that will include employees of the Hamilton Health Sciences Centre (HHSC). Other unions on the ballot include the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA).
Currently, in Hamilton and Burlington, CUPE represents more than 5,000 health care workers including those employed at HHSC, St. Peters Hospital, Joseph Brant Hospital, Hamilton Regional Cancer Centre, St. Josephs, the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital and Mohawk Laundry Services.