TORONTO, Sept. 2, 2022 /CNW/ – As the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) continues to stubbornly refuse to bargain with striking inspectors, OPSEU/SEFPO is calling on Premier Doug Ford to intervene and demand the TSSA return to the bargaining table so inspectors can get a fair deal and get back to their essential inspections.
With the start of the school year just around the corner, it is an especially consequential time of year for the work of inspectors who ensure that boilers and pressure vessels in schools, hospitals and other large institutional settings are safe.
“A handful of TSSA managers can’t do the work of 170 inspectors across the province,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick. “Public services depend on the safe functioning of thousands of boilers and piping systems in schools, hospitals, long-term care homes, and nuclear power plants. Who is inspecting them while the real safety inspectors are on strike?”
When boilers are replaced in schools in the summer, they are inspected just before school starts. Since the pandemic began, many schools are also improving ventilation by upgrading their HVAC systems, which are also inspected by TSSA safety inspectors.
Schools and other public institutions are increasingly at risk the longer management refuses to bargain and that has striking inspectors deeply concerned.
“This is the busy time of year for inspecting boilers and piping in schools, just before the students come back,” said Doug Diehl, bargaining team member, unit steward and striking TSSA inspector. “Like many Ontarians, inspectors are parents too, and we’re anxious about our kids’ safety at schools without the proper inspections.”
TSSA safety inspectors inspect every boiler and pressure vessel in the province throughout their lifespan.
“Most of those inspections aren’t happening right now,” said Diehl. “Contractors are being given a checklist and told to self-inspect new installations. You can’t just depend on self-regulation for powerful systems like that. Boilers can actually blow up. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”
TSSA safety inspectors joined OPSEU/SEFPO Local 546 in 2021 and are bargaining their first contract. They were forced on strike when management walked away from the table on July 20.
“I’m sure that one phone call from the Premier’s Office to TSSA management would bring them back to the bargaining table,” said Hornick. “Safety is a provincial responsibility, and the Premier can’t wash his hands of his duty to protect school children, hospital patients, long-term care home residents and staff. If TSSA management won’t act responsibly, then the Premier must step up and get the inspectors back to work protecting Ontarians.”
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO)