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OCEU/CUPE: Unresolved equity and inclusion issues with IHSA could trigger job action

OCEU/CUPE: Unresolved equity and inclusion issues with IHSA could trigger job action

TORONTOThe Ontario Compensation Employees Union (OCEU)/Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1750 is alleging efforts to address systemic sexism in collective agreement negotiations with its employer, the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA), could trigger a possible job action in mid-June.  

The union claims the employer “rejected several proposals to address workplace barriers that prevent women from advancement, skill development, and participation in the organization.” 

“We have asked the organization to work with us to improve internal career progression, working conditions, access to pregnancy and parental leaves and job security to help equity-seeking employees thrive in the workplace,” said Harry Goslin, president of OCEU/CUPE Local 1750, in an email to the Daily Commercial News. 

“In addition to the systemic sexism, the union is also concerned by the employer’s opposition to provide members with the permitted compensation afforded under Bill 124 (Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019). Combined, the unresolved issues could trigger job action.”  

The IHSA provided a statement of its own. 

“IHSA believes in fair and equitable negotiations and continues to support and rely on the negotiating process,” said Enzo Garritano, president and CEO of the association. “As such we have no further comment while the process is ongoing.”  

The union states it has proposed a new recruitment and diversity mentorship program to help workers, particularly those from equity-seeking communities, access pathways to training and career advancement at the IHSA, indicates a release. 

The union’s bargaining committee requested a no-board report be issued by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development on May 20 and once it’s issued, a 17-day countdown to a possible legal work stoppage is triggered. 

“Our employer flatly refuses to address the equity and inclusion issues we’re trying to address at the bargaining table,” said Annette Baker, OCEU Mobilization Team member. “There are huge gender disparities at our workplace – women earn less, are disproportionately stuck in low-wage jobs, don’t have access to training and skill development to advance, and are unfairly impacted by the employer’s decline of our modest proposals to enhance equity and inclusion at IHSA.”

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