Toronto area LifeLabs workers join OPSEU
In a victory for workers they voted to unionize despite what OPSEU calls a "heavy-handed union-busting campaign" on the part of the company."
In a victory for workers nearly 100 LifeLabs employees voted to unionize in Toronto and Oshawa on July 16. They are joining the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) after what the union called a "heavy-handed union-busting campaign" on the part of the company. LifeLabs is a private medical laboratory services company that does blood and other diagnostic tests. Many of these are funded by public health insurance.
According to OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas:
I always say congratulations to our new members, but these workers deserve extra praise and recognition for their courage and resolve. They faced down one of the most anti-union companies I've ever seen, and now they've won.
From CEO Charlie Brown down to its managers, LifeLabs will pull every trick in the book to keep its workers from exercising their Constitutional right to join a union: intimidation, misinformation, and desperate legal roadblocks at every turn.
OPSEU had previously successfully organized LifeLabs workers in Ontario's Simcoe County region in 2017 as well as the company’s couriers in Toronto voted to join in May, 2020.
In April, 2020 the Ontario Labour Relations Board ordered LifeLabs to reinstate a lab technician in Toronto with 35 years experience after the company attempted to fire her for advocating unionization. At the time Thomas said:
This is a just another shocking illustration of how rotten things are at the top of LifeLabs. First, they let criminals get their hands on the private medical information of millions of Canadians. And now, when lab technicians have never been more important, they're trying to get rid of a technician with years of experience just because she wants to join a union.
That that the workers overcame all this to unionize speaks to their determination.