Striking Medical Lab Workers Want Ministry Intervention

The two sides in an 11-day strike by workers at Medical Laboratories of Windsor are still far apart.

The 90 medical lab assistants and technologists, represented by Unifor Local 2458, went on strike October 2 and no new talks are planned.

A rally was held outside of the Ouellette Ave. office Friday morning which attracted the support of local MPs Cheryl Hardcastle and Brian Masse along with MPP Lisa Gretzky.

The workers say wages are the key issues.

They also voiced concerns about lab work which is still taking place despite the strike, but Medical Lab Vice President of Operations Jennifer Yee says management is drawing blood and is following proper protocols.  

Union Secretary-Treasurer Tullio Diponti says the Ministry of Health needs to step in.

"This is a direct result of privatization in the health care field and everywhere else and we need to stop that," says Diponti.

Union Committee Chair Dina  Roushanroz says workers deserve more because medical care by doctors begins with blood analysis.

"It starts here," she says. "Everything that goes along with your diagnoses from your meds to the care you receive from your doctor would be ruined, because it all has to start with how we analyze and how we process the samples."

Yee points out there was an offer on the table and she was disappointed when it was rejected.

"We had a recommended deal by the whole committee unanimously and it was a 1.5% in the first, second and third year. There were increases to vacations and benefits for part-time and full-time employees, it was recommended but the members turned it down."

She says the average wage in the lab is about $17.00/hour stating hospitals are very different than community labs and there is no comparison. Workers say the starting wage is $12.50/hour for some workers and it only increases to $13.50 after five years.

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Workers on strike at Medical Laboratories of Windsor. October 13, 2017 (Photo by AM800's Teresinha Medeiros)

Windsor-West MPP Lisa Gretzky says this is all about the mighty dollar, not quality health care and she will raise the issue at Queen's Park.

"Nobody should be putting profit before people and that is exactly what is happening here at this lab. It is purely someone putting their own personal profit above the people who deliver the service and the people who count on the service."