Ontario Government Interference in Private Sector Negotiations Ends Talks, CAW says
July 20, 2012, 1:15 PM EST
The CAW is expressing anger at the Ontario government for interfering in collective bargaining with a for-profit corporation, after negotiations abruptly ended with long term care provider Extendicare.
"We don't agree with arbitrary government interference in free collective bargaining in any case. Given that Extendicare is an extremely profitable private sector corporation, this intrusion by the provincial government is beyond the pale," said CAW President Ken Lewenza.
Negotiations with Extendicare opened in mid-June and had continued into July. Talks were sharply halted after a dictate issued by the Ontario government that broader public sector employers (which in some cases include for-profit firms) must have all forms of compensation frozen in collective agreements.
"Long term care workers, are predominantly women and work long hours, doing strenuous work, taking care of our elderly loved ones," said Lewenza. "It is deplorable that the provincial government would devalue this important work to such a degree. It is especially galling when the for-profit corporation employing them can well afford to compensate their work fairly."
"The CAW takes great pride in bargaining collective agreements in health care and the government has jeopardized the bargaining process here," Lewenza said.
The union will be going to arbitration with Extendicare in September, with the expectation that a contract will be awarded by the end of October.
The CAW represents 1,200 full and part-time Extendicare workers at 10 homes. The communities affected are Sault Ste. Marie (CAW Local 1120), Ottawa (CAW Local 830), Kingston (CAW Local 830), Oakville (CAW Local 504), Windsor (CAW Local 2458), Port Stanley (CAW Local 302), and London (CAW Local 302).