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Algoma Public Health workers vote 85% in favour of strike

Tuesday, October 02, 2012   by: Staff


CUPE 1528


Algoma Public Health workers united to achieve a fair contract

SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – Public health workers at the Algoma Public Health Unit, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are united in solidarity to achieve a fair contract. 

In an effort to achieve their goal, the members recently voted 85 percent in favour of a strike to achieve a fair agreement.

“The last thing we want is a strike, and we remain committed to delivering the highest quality public services, while we make every effort to reach a negotiated settlement,” said CUPE 1528 president Rochella McGaughey. “But we are sending a message to our employer that we mean business and are prepared to stand together to defend our collective rights and achieve a fair contract for our members.”

A strike would affect flu clinics, water safety, environmental inspections, tobacco enforcement, home family visits for premature and developmentally delayed infant support, public health inspections (for restaurants, personal services like tattoo parlors and manicure/spa services), dental hygiene, sexual health, office services and other public health and disease and contagion prevention services in Sault Ste. Marie, Elliot Lake, Blind River, Wawa, White River, Dubreuilville, Chapleau, Spanish, North Shore, St. Joseph’s Island, Thessalon and the entire Algoma District.

“Our bargaining committee has been in negotiations since June 2011, and efforts to reach a negotiated contract have been difficult,” said Robin Silverman, CUPE national representative. “There has been a reluctance from this employer to reach a fair settlement for these mostly women workers, who are dedicated to promoting and protecting public health in our communities.”

CUPE has informed a provincial conciliation officer of the strike vote, and requested a date to reconvene the parties at the bargaining table. No new talks have been scheduled so far.

“Our members are tired of being treated as second class citizens,” said Silverman, referring to inequalities in the workplace where CUPE members receive inferior benefits compared to other workplace groups. “The issues preventing us from reaching a settlement are essentially non-monetary, and there’s no reason for this employer to provoke a work stoppage.”



Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
speed7 10/2/2012 10:10:06 AM Report

I wouldn't. Be surprised if some underhanded legislation is being written up just about now!
Point Blank 10/2/2012 11:00:56 AM Report

Great! We're in the middle of the worst recession since the depression and another huge union wants to hold the public hostage so they can get pay increases.
I only wish that they would be held accountable should someone get severely ill, or worse, because of the lack of availability of their services.
Sorry, but I believe that our health and education should be off the table when it comes to stiking. They are essential services, in my opinion.
steve53000 10/2/2012 11:14:51 AM Report

Senators and our beloved politicians get compensated very well fer their actions liked or disliked (mostly) and their cohorts are very well looked after.
thera 10/2/2012 11:47:55 AM Report

Just watch, this will probably be the next group to be legislated back and their rights to collective bargaining taken away (lest we forget: Canada Post, Airlines, Teachers).
I suspect that no one is going to care until it's your job the government goes after. Of course by then, it will be too late and the government will the have the precedents to do whatever they want.
pruden 10/2/2012 12:01:49 PM Report

Point Blank - it states quite clearly these workers are striking for non-monetary issues........our labour rights are being removed so fast and people like you are encouraging it...don't you have any kids or grandchildren? Do you want them to have NO RIGHTS????
dob131 10/2/2012 12:03:42 PM Report

They want more money thats all .. let them work for minimum wage for awhile and see if they will strike? PFFFFFT
Sweets312 10/2/2012 12:34:39 PM Report

Point Blank...did you even read the story. It has nothing to do with money. It's just about receiving the same treatment as the other workers that work for the same employer
Wicked 10/2/2012 12:49:55 PM Report

Let's not forget BILL 115 that the PC's and Liberals passed.
The finance minister can overule the arbitrator and soon will be assigning you one: you won't be picking your own.
Let's get out there and vote ppl!
Sweets312 10/2/2012 1:02:22 PM Report

It's bothersome that people see the words union strike and they ASSUME it's about money. I suggest you keep your mouth shut about something you obviously know nothing about. You sound foolish. Unions are not about making more money. There is so much more and so many less advantaged people that unions help. We fight for rights off all people. Not just those in unions. If you make minimum wage and are unhappy about it, I suggest going back to school and get a degree so you can move forward...if that's what is upsetting you. If you want to take shots about the fact people make more money than you, that's your own issue. Use that anger for something more productive. And just so you know, not all union workers make a ton of money. Not all union workers have benefits. Take a look at the sunshine list for the past few years and see how much of an increase some managers or MOH's have made in the past few years...even during this "wage freeze."
sinikka 10/2/2012 1:18:32 PM Report

sweets take your own advice, if you don't like the bigwhigs at MOH getting increases then you too can go back to school and upgrade and then perhaps you too can get one of those high paid jobs you were referring to. Regardless of what the union is trying to negotiate the economic climate is not conducive to the public supporting any type of strike. Expect the backlash you are encountering and also look at it from the eye of someone that does make minimum wage and demands nothing but the opportunity to work. Furthermore it is laughable to suggest that the dispute has nothing to do with money. Any concessions or increase in benefits cost the system money regardless of whether they appear as increases on the paychecks of the employee.
dob131 10/2/2012 2:05:22 PM Report

There are people in this town that have University degrees working at call centers. They would kill to have the chance at working for the public health system and make more then minimum wage. And they see these workers being Greedy. PFFFT
OMGWTF 10/2/2012 2:41:28 PM Report

It's all great (not really) to see these verbatim news releases about their problems but there is nothing in here that tells us WHAT they really want to help make their case to the public. Non monetary? Really. If it's taking this long and they are at an impasse it always distills down to someones budget be it benefits,time off, seniority etc etc etc. Tell the public what you're fighting for. Don't give us the soundbites. All you'll get is a bunch of us flipping you the bird. Then again that maybe all you get anyway.
geterdun 10/2/2012 3:04:54 PM Report

typical uneducated useless comments from useless people........hey dobs pftttt thats your remark LOL.......go figure?????? for those of you who are jealous and mad about people making a good living..I say you should have listened to your mothers and stayed in school then you could have had one of those so called gravy jobs........just because you all made the wrong choices and decided to work for a non union company with shitty wages and no benefits thats to bad for you all ......dont be mad at the rest of us who had enough sense to join a union......those making stupid remarks on here are just jealous of those who actually stand up for their basic rights. UNION SOLIDARITY FOREVER SISTERS AND BROTHERS!!!!!!!! THE PEOPLE SUPPORT YOU.........
I'm In 10/2/2012 3:55:55 PM Report

Sweets312 and geterdun: Your both right on and if your university educated like dob131 says than university grads should move down south and get a job in their field instead of working in call centres or is it they don't want to leave mommies apron strings. (Boo-Hoo)
dob131 10/2/2012 4:47:21 PM Report

The only way to get a Job in this city that have higher wages , is if your brother, sister, father, grandfather, friend, wife, husband, work there. Of course I am jealous, i would love to have gotten my job with no credentials. Thats why there is a union there to protect those workers from losing thier job to people that are higher qualified to do thier job.
dob131 10/2/2012 4:50:34 PM Report

So why don't you union clowns stop whining like BABIES !!! Whaaaa give me more money whaaaa i don't care if i destroy your company, as long as I can keep living my lavish lifestyle whaaa whaa on and on ... Your the only one i hear crying
xyz123 10/2/2012 5:05:22 PM Report

staff who work for governement or public should not be in a union. Unions can exist in the private sector because there is a balance between the company bottom line and what the uniion is demanding. In the public sector, the finacial bottom line becomes irrelevant if you just increase taxes, borrow money and increase the debt or increase the user fees. We are on the brink of crisis if wages, benefts or other expenses in all levels of government are not frozen or possibly rolled back, we cannot just keep borrowing money and borrowing from the future.
Sweets312 10/2/2012 5:22:31 PM Report

sinikka, I didn't say I didn't like the "bigwigs" getting pay increases. My point is that the government keeps crying about not having money and there needs to be pay freezes, but will give the "bigwigs" even more money during this so called wage freeze period. That doesn't sit well with me. As for dob...instead of focusing so much on what issues ARE NOT being argued, read the story before you continue to make yourself look foolish. I'm well educated, working in my field and making a decent wage. I'm happy with what I do. Keep in mind, if it wasn't for unions, minimum wage jobs would likely still be at $4/hr. I'm sure there will be information sessions for the public to find out more on what that union is fighting for. Maybe we need to attend them to find out why and maybe stand behind these unions. Not just for them but for all working class people.
dob131 10/2/2012 5:32:47 PM Report

Whatever ... how did you get your job? Did your mother,sister,father,friend, husband,brother , grandparents get you in? Well educated ? No, you just have the right connections... Most people in Canada are well educated. So you did a couple years in college or university. so does 75% of the population well educated lmao
Sweets312 10/2/2012 5:44:54 PM Report

Oh dob, it's almost fun arguing with you. Actually, not only are none of my family employed at the same place as me, I didn't even know one person when I applied and got my job. I'm stepping our on a limb here but, your anger and resentment comes out so clear in these postings, maybe...just maybe it's your attitude that is keeping you from getting your desirable job.
dob131 10/2/2012 6:09:52 PM Report

Nope... The problem here is that there are too many educated people, and too many people applying for the jobs that are available in the sault. I guess you are right,I am angry.. I hope the government locks them out and they all lose thier jobs and have to move out of the city to get work.
Sweets312 10/2/2012 6:14:06 PM Report

Yes dob, sounds like you need the majority of SSM to leave town to even have a chance at getting your desired job. And I bet you still won't get a position. But, if you did, keep in could very well still be a unionized job. Unless, of course, you willing to still accept minimum wage. Which is as high as it is, thanks to unions...btw. ;-)
tatas85 10/2/2012 6:47:15 PM Report

Ok first of all APH is not an emergency heath care service nor are they primary physicians so saying that the APH staff should have to be held accountable for someone becoming seriously ill or worse is ridiculous. Secondly, these are people who have families and work hard for a living so if they want to stand up for themselves and have a union to back them I say good for them!! Wanting them all to loose their jobs and have to leave town because others haven't been able to secure a job in their desired field sounds a little petty....
girlfriend 10/2/2012 6:48:40 PM Report

I am happy to hear that you are standing up for our democratic rights. It is sad that facts are often twisted by politicians and the media. The fact is - the only difference between Canada and a third world country is "the middle class". We keep the economy afloat! It is time some of you realize that the government made this mess, they were in charge of the budget for the last few years. They are to blame. We can not blame each other - you have earned those benefits and it is not something to give up on easily. Stay strong and ignore the angry, sad people!
Sweets312 10/2/2012 6:52:07 PM Report

Well said tatas85 and girlfriend.
dob131 10/2/2012 8:09:43 PM Report

Ya you guys are right, I don't know what I am talking about. If it wasn't for unions, there would be more jobs, because Companies could afford to hire more people. Ok for example; Essar pays Approx $25.00 hr for a simple labourer, because of unions. If that wage was lower say $17hr they would be able to hire more people. Thus less people on UI and more money for say health services.
Sweets312 10/2/2012 9:09:53 PM Report

You wouldn't want a job at Essar would you dob? That would be a union job and you just wouldn't have that.
Sweets312 10/2/2012 9:11:27 PM Report wouldn't even be $17/hr. It would probably be $5 or $6...if it wasn't for unions.
tatas85 10/2/2012 9:13:36 PM Report

That is correct, if you pay people less you can afford to hire more people....but that is not what this is all about hence the term "non-monetary"...they are not asking for a wage increase...and the comparison to a "simple labourer" is a poor one as these are individuals with specialized education doing jobs that not just anyone can do. These are people fighting within their organization not to be treated as "second class citizens" as the news release says....they are asking for the same treatment as the person sitting across from them that happens to work for a different union or is a non-union employee that has been given better benefits from the same employer.
tatas85 10/2/2012 9:22:35 PM Report

...and btw the person making $25 an hour at Essar deserves it if the job they are doing could potentially endanger a colleagues life...a lot of the jobs in the plant involve the potential for casualties/bodily harm if not done properly (as we've seen before in the media)so pay them well and let everyone go home alive!
dob131 10/2/2012 10:20:15 PM Report

They dont deserve nothing, and either do you. Go back to school and get a real education . And i don't think Canada would allow them to pay less then the minimum wage CLOWN !! Make some sense for once !! Unions Are not needed in Canada and either are you !!
tatas85 10/2/2012 10:41:19 PM Report

"Don't deserve nothing" that is exactly my real education allows me to deduce the meaning of a double negative...and my education has given me the opportunity to have a great job for which I am well paid :)
dob131 10/2/2012 10:44:55 PM Report

Whatever this is getting sickening.
speed7 10/2/2012 11:16:47 PM Report

Dob why dont you be the first to volunteer to work for minimum wage then? See what its like feeding a family paying bills. Your employer at the call centre already exploits you and demands more of you as time goes on. I've been there and believe me.

Your government is breaking down unions and then there is no protection for workers. You really beleive our government would take care of you if that happens? Dream buddy.

This sense of entitlement is really making me want to barf in a bag. How can you even state that, knowing you are really cutting your own throat. Those free government services you get are going to get really skimpy as time goes by as a result of this. Protection of workers rights should be the focus on this subject not jealousy and stupidity.
jackson08 10/10/2012 4:01:16 PM Report

They dont deserve nothing, and either do you. Go back to school and get a real education

Hahaha ironic statement is ironic. I haven't laughed so hard at someone's stupidity as much as I did reading this, so thank you.

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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