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WSIB workers threaten strike action

By Randy Thoms May 25, 2023 | 2:43 PM

Harry Goslin, Local president of the CUPE's Ontario Compensation Employees' Union

A potential strike is looming at the Workplace Safety Insurance Board.

About 3,600 unionized workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) could be off the job next week.

Local president of CUPE’s Ontario Compensation Employees Union, Harry Goslin, says talks have not gone well.

“Members have made it abundantly clear that they cannot accept a deal that does not address the serious and systemic workload problems, solutions to resolve our grievances, and fair compensation. Members’ morale at WSIB has been a major concern and cannot be addressed by clawing back provisions of the collective agreement,” says Goslin.

Goslin notes 87 per cent of workers took part in a strike, with 97.3% voting in favour of the action to back contract demands.

“That’s virtually unheard of, and that sends a powerful message to get to the table and get to a fair deal,” says Goslin.

Workload is one of the key issues.

The union says the average caseload for a WSIB case manager was about 70. For some, it has now doubled, and cases are becoming more complex.

“An unreasonable workload for WSIB workers, resulting in burnout, attrition, and understaffing a critical service that’s not up to the task, leaving injured workers waiting months for their benefits,” says CUPE president Fred Hahn.

Hahn adds training for adjudicators and case managers have been cut in half from six months.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to workers at the WSIB and to all of the injured workers who depend on this important safety net. The old way of negotiations where employers drag their feet, ignore what workers need, try to extract concessions at bargaining tables, well, it’s no longer on.”


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