Dynacare workers vote for strike action as bargaining for a first collective agreement reaches impasse

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Feb. 05, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lab tech workers at nine Dynacare locations in Ontario, including Hamilton, Burlington, Kitchener, and Niagara Falls, have voted unanimously in favour of strike action as bargaining for a first collective agreement with their employer has reached an impasse over wage rates.

The diverse group of 65 workers, mostly women, voted overwhelmingly to join Local 175 of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) in January 2023, and have been in the bargaining process over the course of the last year.

“Our members have held strong and are determined to achieve a solid first collective agreement that reflects the important nature of their work, the education and experience they bring to their jobs, and their vital role in providing quality healthcare services to our communities,” said Kelly Tosato, Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW Local 175.

All of the 65 workers perform the duties of phlebotomist, in addition to performing other lab tests, and that requires a certificate from the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Sciences (CSMLS) to become a Medical Laboratory Technician. Despite there being only two classifications for the workers, there are over 35 different wage rates applied to their jobs, and they are all underpaid.

“Dynacare is one of the largest providers of lab services in the country and they employ more than 2,400 people across Canada. The responsible thing for this company to do is to not only pay a living wage to begin with, but to ensure the wage rates are rational and applied fairly,” said Mike Mattioli, Director for the UFCW Local 175 Health, Office, and Professional Employees (HOPE) Community Care sector, and one of the lead negotiators for the Dynacare workers.

“A living wage, and having a wage grid that makes sense and eliminates favouritism shouldn’t be too much to ask,” said Mattioli. “These workers deserve to be treated with respect and paid fairly. I hope the company chooses to come back to the table with a good offer that respects the care and expertise these workers bring to their jobs.”

The Union has requested a No Board from the Ministry of Labour. With the members’ endorsement of strike action, which took place at a vote held January 7, 2024, these workers will soon be in a legal strike position.

UFCW Locals 175 & 633 represents more than 70,000 working people across all sectors of the Ontario economy, including more than 6,500 members in the Health, Office, and Professional Employees (HOPE) sector.

For more information: media@ufcw175.com