We’re writing with some news about the Campus Dentist, which we know many of you use for cleanings and other dental work.
About 8 months ago, the staff at the Campus Dentist voted to unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). Since then, they have been trying to negotiate a first contract with their employer (i.e. the dentists themselves, backed up by the Ontario Dentists Association) with little success. From what we’ve been told, the employer has been intransigent throughout the process, refusing to meet regularly and digging in on every issue. Talks have not been going well, to put it mildly.
The conditions these workers – hygienists, assistants, and receptionists – are facing in their jobs are unacceptable. Two particularly galling examples of employer mistreatment that we’ve been told about are the fact that hygienists in particular are paid only for contact time, which means that they are paid only for the time it takes to perform a cleaning and not for the prep or paperwork that accompanies it, a fairly egregious example of wage theft. In addition to this, the workers at this office don’t have decent benefits, including a viable dental plan. This is worth repeating: the dentist’s staff doesn’t have access to a good dental plan!
The union has let us know that there will be some leafleting taking place this week (the leaflet is attached to this email), potentially beginning today. So if you happen to be in student centre, stop by and show your support for these folks! And if you have an appointment this week, be sure to tell your hygienist, assistant, or the person who greets you at the desk, that you appreciate their hard work.
Graham Baker, President, CUPE 3906