Ontario Labour Relations Board upholds long-term care workers vote to join USW

The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) last week confirmed the democratic rights and the will of approximately 500 employees of long-term care operator CONMED Health Care Group to join the United Steelworkers union (USW).

“This is a tremendous victory for these workers who have had to wait several months to have their legal and democratic rights recognized,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

CONMED and the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) simultaneously pursued legal challenges in an attempt to thwart the will of the long-term care workers to join the USW. The legal challenges delayed the outcome by months, but ultimately failed, as the OLRB upheld the workers’ rights and clear desire to join the USW.

The long-term care workers voted by a large majority to join the USW and to leave the CLAC. CLAC is not affiliated with, or recognized by, the federal and provincial labour federations – including the Canadian Labour Congress and the Ontario Federation of Labour – that represent the majority of unions in Canada.

“These workers are among the front-line heroes who have gone beyond the call of duty throughout the pandemic to care for our most-vulnerable citizens. They deserve a collective agreement that recognizes the vital work they perform every day, under extremely challenging circumstances,” said Warren.

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