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Union reaches tentative deal with GreenShield Canada

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Details of the tentative deal between GreenShield and its workers are being held close to the vest as the union representing workers prepares for a ratification vote later this week.

“No one really wants to be on strike and when we found out the news we were excited,” said employee Taylor Francis-Grant.

It's day 46 of the strike. Workers learned Monday morning a tentative deal was struck.

“We trust our union so we know that it's something worthwhile,” Francis-Grant said.

Unifor Local 240 president Jodi Nesbitt says the bargaining committee negotiated extensively through the weekend.

“I know that the committees would not be bringing back this deal if we didn't feel confident that it met the goals our our membership.”

Those goals, according to Nesbitt, were focused on job security, pension and wages.

About 580 members of Unifor Local 240 and 20 members with Local 673 have been out since their contract expired March 1. Workers like Francis-Grant, a member of the call centre, can't wait until Wednesday to vote and hopefully return.

“A lot of people don't want to work through email,” Francis-Grant said. “They want to speak to a live person at the other end of the line and that's what we're here to do.”

A voice on the other end is all Joe D'Ettore wants. A resident of New Brunswick, D'Ettore's 91-year old mother-in-law is in home care and has a policy with Green Shield.

 

Service began shortly before the strike and payment was denied after workers walked out. “If I had the option to have just picked up the phone and talked to someone and talked to one of those nice people I talked to prior to the strike this whole thing could have been resolved in a week.” D’Ettore said.

Instead, the former 20-year call centre manager for a major bank found himself going back and forth with the company electronically. Last week, the company approved 12 hours of care per week instead of 18.

“And I'm not even gonna bother to ask them why it was only 12 hours until I know I can talk to someone.”

Pharmacies have had to deal with not having a call centre to rely on.

“You try to call and they tell you there's nobody answering the phones so any issues involved with the pharmacy and it's great that our patients can now go back to getting things approved much quicker.” Said Rob Modestino, owner of Rob’s Pharmacy in LaSalle.

A meeting is set up for Green Shield employees Wednesday morning at the Serbian Centre followed by the ratification vote.

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