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Striking PEI blood collection workers reject employer’s latest offer

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Blood collection workers in Charlottetown, PEI, on strike for seven months now, have voted to reject a new contract offer from their employer, a press release issued by their union this morning announces.

Canadian Blood Services’ (CBS) latest offer included that the workers would not return to work until August 8th and still did not address the workers’ concern about having a guaranteed number of hours for their part-time positions.

The eight CBS workers, members of the Nova Scotia Union of Public and Private Employees (NSUPE) are all part-timers. And they’re all women.  

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Striking PEI blood collection workers join a Halifax information picket against for-profit plasma clinics in Halifax in late March. Photo Robert Devet

Guaranteed hours would provide some much needed economic certainty in the workers’ lives. And it would allow them to qualify for health benefits.

All that the employer offered was to guarantee hours for only the next  seven months.

“CBS wants to limit the timeframe for the guaranteed number of hours,  so that it is no longer in place leading up to the next round of negotiations,” says Nancy Elliott, a NSUPE official. “Once you have been working without that provision for a year than it is much easier for the employer to keep it out forever.”

It doesn’t make any sense that they think we, or any CBS worker anywhere, would agree to that,” NSUPE Local 19 president Tanya Herrell tells the Nova Scotia Advocate.

It’s very disappointing. When we asked CBS to agree to a mediator, we were hoping for much more,” Herrell says.

The offer was rejected unanimously, says Herrell

Workers were shocked when CBS’ offer included that they wouldn’t return to work for another four months, the press release states.

Apparently that is how long it would take CBS to hire some nurses, do training, and implement a new automated intake system.

“I have never heard of an employer keeping its workers another four months off the job after the end of a strike,” says Elliott. “The workers feel that if CBS truly felt it important to get the clinic opened they could do it much sooner.”

The striking workers are well aware that the outcome of the strike will have repercussions for CBS workers anywhere in Canada.

“They are amazingly steadfast and brave. I think they’re very tired of being on strike, they want to go back to work,” says Elliott.  “They miss working with the donors, they certainly miss having an income. But they found the offer totally unacceptable.”

“We’re showing everybody that you can stand up for yourself, no matter how large the corporation,” says Herrell.

 

Email Graham Sher, CEO of CBS (who scrapes by on a mere $700,000 a year) to let him know you support the Charlottetown workers.

Stay current with the latest developments and show your support by joining the workers’ Facebook page.