In an effort to support the Sisters and Brothers in OPSEU 276 and their quest for a fair and reasonable collective agreement donations continue to come in. The Society of Unified Professionals, OSSTF District 7 and OSSTF D& OPT Locals donate to OPSEU 276. In May the Grey Bruce Labour Council donated and then challenged locals in the area to meet or exceed the challenge amount of $500. The donations continue to come in and with this the picket line stays up and the pressure for the doctors to negotiate is maintained.
Thursday, June 21, 2018
This National Indigenous Peoples Day, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to grant the two-year extension to the mandate of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Earlier in June, the Commission was only granted a six-month extension in response to its request to add an additional two years to their mandate.
“We must avoid making the same mistakes of the past and learn from our history,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “This means we must centre the voices of Indigenous communities in order to fully confront the ‘destructive legacies of colonization’, as described by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
The Commissioners called for an extension in response to the needs expressed by Indigenous communities, survivors and family members of those who are missing or have been murdered.
“If the process, the method, the solutions and the advocacy is not steered by those who are impacted, we are reinforcing the very colonial tactics that brought us here today with respect to our relationship with Indigenous, First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples,” said Yussuff.
The extension balances the need to urgently address violence against Indigenous women and girls with the necessity of ensuring thorough and comprehensive recommendations in the final report. The two-year extension would allow for increased community participation, as well as specific consideration of LGBTQ and two-spirit people.
For Canada’s unions, recognizing National Indigenous Peoples Day is about recognizing the needs of Indigenous people and standing in solidarity with their social, economic, and political needs. The government has a responsibility to ensure that the public inquiry adequately meets the objectives set out in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Actio
OPSEU President to attend rally calling for decent wages at Family Health Organization
OWEN SOUND – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas will be attending a noon-hour rally in Owen Sound on Wednesday, June 27 to urge the doctors who own the Family Health Organization to offer their workers the decent wages they deserve.
What: Rally to support the striking workers at the Family Health Organization
Who: Guests to include OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, along with a number of Owen Sound labour leaders
When: Wednesday, June 27 at noon (rally runs from 11 am to 2 pm)
Where: 1415 1st Ave. West, Owen Sound
“These OPSEU members are as skilled and dedicated as any health care workers in the community,” said Thomas. “They deserve to be paid the same as other health care workers doing the same kind of work.
“It’s time for the doctors who own the facility to get back to the table with a fair offer.”
More than 30 members of OPSEU Local 276 working at the Family Health Organization as nurses, secretaries, and custodians have been on strike since May 22. They have gone years without raises and make less than similar workers at other community health care clinics in the area.
“The doctors who own this clinic obviously have a lot to learn about running a good workplace,” said OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “It’s not complicated: treat your employees fairly and they’ll work wonders for you.”
Since the strike began, the Local 276 members have received widespread support from the community.
“People and businesses in Owen Sound recognize the value of the work these members do,” said Thomas. “Why don’t the doctors?”
Canada’s unions are kicking off Pride season by renewing the call for universal pharmacare. Too many LGBTQ2SI people are among the more than 3.5 million people living in Canada who can’t afford to fill their prescriptions; and over half of people living in Canada are afraid they won’t be able to afford their prescription medication in the future.
The LGBTQ2SI community can often face more barriers than their straight and cisgender peers in accessing adequate health care. Yet, access to health care – including medication – is a fundamental human right.
“Universal pharmacare is about health equity. Everyone in Canada with a health card – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – should have access to the medications they need,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.
Roughly one third of working people in Canada don’t have employer-funded prescription drug coverage. Many members of LGBTQ2SI communities face discrimination in the job market, which can restrict their access to meaningful employment with access to comprehensive drug benefits. Even those who do have workplace health benefits can find co-pays or deductibles prohibitive, preventing them from taking necessary medications as prescribed.
“Too many people in Canada must choose between paying for their prescription medications or buying groceries. For the LGBTQ2SI community, the barriers are even greater,” said Yussuff.
HIV prevention treatment, gender-affirming hormones, medication to treat anxiety or depression, and treatments in support of reproductive and sexual health and fertility – just to name a few – can be prohibitively expensive. Lack of access to some of these medications can have disastrous consequences.
“Universal pharmacare would improve the lives of so many by ensuring equal access to prescription medications for everyone. Here at home, Canada is making great strides in ensuring equality for LGBTQ2SI communities, but there is still a lot to be done,” added Yussuff.
The federal government has committed to addressing systemic discrimination experienced by LGBTQ2SI people. Canada’s unions have called on the government to do more, including ending the discriminatory ban on blood donation for all men who have sex with men. It’s past time to end this homophobic and transphobic policy once and for all.
Internationally, Canada has also become more engaged on LGBTQ2SI issues. Later this year, Canada will host Leaving No One Behind: the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) Global Conference on LGBTI Human Rights and Inclusive Development in Vancouver. Co-chaired by Canada and Chile, the ERC is the first-ever intergovernmental coalition dedicated to the protection of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world.
To learn more about the CLC’s pharmacare campaign, visit aplanforeveryone.ca.
Canada’s unions will join others in communities across Canada to celebrate Pride and support LGBTQ2SI equality and justice.
While Pride is a time to celebrate, it is also a time for reflection and activism. Pride originated in response to the police crackdown on LGBTQ2SI spaces like the 1981 bath house raids in Toronto.
“It is important for us to continue to challenge ongoing discrimination and the challenges faced by members of the LGBTQ2SI community,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.
There are still many countries where homosexuality is illegal and subject to extreme punishment and even execution. In Chechnya, for example, gay men are being detained in concentration camps, tortured and in some cases killed, and families are being pressured to kill their gay sons.
Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian organization that helps LGBTQ2SI people who face physical violence, imprisonment, or death, has been working with Russian LGBTQ2SI organizations to bring Chechnyans to Canada as refugees. At this May’s CLC Convention, delegates gave unanimous support for a resolution calling on the Canadian government to actively support these efforts and to condemn Chechnya’s actions.
Canada has its own dark history of state-sanctioned discrimination and much work needs to be done to make reparations. Canada has yet to formally apologize for a decades-long national security campaign that targeted public service workers and members of the RCMP and military perceived to be homosexuals. Many were questioned, outed, and fired.
“These individuals and their families have waited decades for justice. It is long past time not just to apologize to those whose lives and careers were destroyed, but to secure pardons and provide compensation for the harm inflicted upon them,” said Yussuff.
“We encourage everyone to be loud and proud at parades and pride events across the country and we will celebrate the ways Canada’s unions have helped advance LGBTQ2S1 rights. But we also commit to continuing our work to achieve more fairness and justice for these communities in Canada and abroad,” Yussuff added.