Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) workers have voted 95.5 per cent in favour of strike action, putting the members of Ontario Compensation Employees Union/Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1750 on a path to a possible March 29 strike deadline.
Both sides, however, say they remain committed to bargaining towards a contract.
The OCEU/CUPE 1750 represents 3,400 WSIB employees. The union said major issues to be resolved are compensation, workload and resolution of grievances. The voting outcome was announced March 1.
OCEU president Harry Goslin said if strike action is necessary, the union will provide the employer with 72 hours’ notice, with March 29 the most likely strike deadline. Goslin said members are prepared to undertake a work-to-rule campaign with a strike as a last resort.
“Both parties continue to negotiate, and we remain hopeful a tentative agreement can be reached in the coming days,” said Goslin in a statement. “We are committed to avoiding impacts to the injured workers we serve.
“Members have made it abundantly clear that they cannot accept a deal that does not address the serious systemic workload problems, solutions to resolve our historic 600-plus grievances, and fair compensation as permitted under provincial legislation.”
The WSIB issued a release stating, “The WSIB remains at the bargaining table with OCEU and is negotiating in good faith toward a reasonable and fair agreement.”
Goslin said member morale at WSIB has been a major concern, especially during the pandemic.
Either party can request a no-board report to initiate a countdown to a strike or lockout.
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