- Hub staff

Today was day 2 of a strike by nurses, clerical and custodial staff of the Owen Sound Family Health Organization.
Their contract expired at the end of December, and negotiations appear to have stopped.
Many staff originally came with the doctors who joined their practices together in the collective model, so wages were not consistent. The 30-plus workers joined OPSEU Local 276 in 2015, and they have been asking for a pay grid – equal pay for equal work. Some nurses report earning as little as $19 an hour.
Workload is also an issue, according to those on the line who say there is a revolving door of administrative staff patientsatriskbecause of it, and full-time staff are being replaced by part-time receptionists.
Staff on the picket line say that they do not want to be there; they want the doctors who pay their wages to negotiate with them. After four years of no raises, they voted to strike when the offer from the doctors was 1% per year – less than inflation – for three years, and they were told that any further increase would come from their pensions.
The nurses worry about patient confidentiality, saying that doctors are using family members and temporary workers to staff their practices.

Leadership at the Owen Sound Family Health Team responded: "The OSFHT takes patient information seriously. As part of our planning for a labour disruption, everyone retained by the FHO who are supporting our continued service to patients has signed a confidentiality agreement. Furthermore, a large portion of the support is being provided by OSFHO and OSFHT staff. Patients can have every assurance that our practice is compliant with applicable legislation."
OPSEU negotiator David Cox says David Defrancesco from the the Toronto law firm of Mathews Dinsdale and Clark is representing the doctors in the negotiation, but he of course is taking direction from his clients. Drs. Dyke, Whittle and Singh are the negotiating team for the employers.
Cox says the OPSEU workers are receiving encouragement from the public and from members of the union at the Grey Bruce Health Services and Public Health as well as those in other communities.
There are 3500 OPSEU members in Grey and Bruce.



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