CMHA Hamilton workers in Ontario join OPSEU

Community organization supported more than 9,700 adults: Union

Employees with the Hamilton branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) — who provide services to adults with serious mental illness — have voted to join the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

"These workers chose OPSEU because they were looking for security and protection at a time of uncertainty at CMHA Hamilton," said Ed Arvelin, chair of OPSEU's mental health and addictions division. "The agency's chief executive officer was retiring, and employees were unsure who would fill the role. Unionizing would give them greater peace of mind during the transition."

Arvelin said workers were also looking for consistency in job postings and policies, in addition to a legal voice in their workplace. "With the turmoil that has shaken mental health care across the province in terms of restructuring and refinancing, staff wanted to ensure they had a say in any changes that could impact CMHA's Hamilton branch."

In 2016 and in 2017, the branch supported more than 9,700 individuals in the Hamilton area and has been a fixture in the community for over half a century.

The CMHA serves 100,000 Canadians yearly in 135 communities. The Hamilton branch of the CMHA is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton, and the City of Hamilton.

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