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Ontario public-sector union warns employers with ‘bad boss hall of shame’


April 3, 2020
By Talent Canada Staff

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OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. Photo: Courtesy OPSEU

An Ontario public-sector union is warning employers not to mistreat staff during the COVID-19 crisis saying it will name them in a ‘bad boss hall of shame.’

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Services Employees Union (OPSEU), said it has has successfully pushed back against “a number” of employers who tried to layoff workers or cut benefits during the pandemic.

“OPSEU will not allow bad bosses to kick workers to the ‘CERB’,” said Thomas, referring to the federal government’s upcoming relief payments of $2,000 a month, the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB). “This pandemic is hitting front line workers hard. Our members are out there every day risking their own health and the health of their families in order to provide vital services.

“Every time we hear of a bad employer trying to take advantage of them, we will name them and shame them in the ‘bad boss hall of shame.'”

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Over the past week, OPSEU claimed it has forced a series of employers to back off on decisions that would have left vulnerable workers even more vulnerable including:

  • Convincing Canadian Blood Services to reverse its decision not to provide all of its workers with protective masks.

  • Convincing Honeywell to backtrack on a plan to lay off hospital maintenance workers.

  • Convincing the Ottawa Hospital to rescind a decision to strip its part time and casual workers of paid sick time.

“There’s never a good time for a bad boss, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” said OPSEU first vice-president/treasurer Eduardo Almeida. “As the treasurer, I know how to read a balance sheet. And that means I know that few public sector employers are facing any kind of financial shortfall because of COVID-19 — they’re fully funded.