Table Talk Issue 6: Essential Services bargaining begins at Central/Unified table

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Essential Service bargaining begins at Central/Unified table

Corrections Table not affected

On Tuesday, January 27, the employer removed any shadow of doubt on their bargaining intentions by presenting the Central/Unified team with the documents to begin Essential and Emergency Services (EES) negotiations. This only affects the Central/Unified table; the Corrections Team is still negotiating, and is not yet in conciliation.

Earlier that day, the OPSEU Central/Unified Team met with the Conciliator and re-affirmed the union’s bargaining position: The union will NOT accept the across-the-board concessions the employer is proposing, and we will still put forward the members’ bargaining priorities.

At 4:53 p.m., the employer delivered their reply. No movement. No changes. Apparently, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s public statement that she “believes in the collective bargaining process” doesn’t extend to actually bargaining to get a fair collective agreement.

We now have two jobs ahead of us. The Central/Unified Team will begin the process of negotiating the nearly 1,400 EES agreements. The goal is to ensure that EVERY agreement complies completely with the law governing this process. This will not be a quick process, but there are no predictions to exactly how long…or how short…these negotiations will take.

The second job, the most important job, is YOUR job. During this time, every member must convince the employer that not only will you defend your contract, but you are ready to go on strike to prove it.

These preparations must take place immediately. If we are going to demonstrate how serious we are, then every local and every member must be prepared for a labour disruption.

While this is happening, we must continue to hound the Liberal government and their MPPs at every opportunity.

We have made it clear to the Conciliator that the OPSEU Team is still ready and willing to bargain, which can take place even during EES negotiations. We have not walked away from the table. It’s your employer, or more properly the Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals, that have walked away from YOU.

What can you do now?

Your bargaining team is asking that every OPS member do the following in the days ahead:

  • Participate in every demonstration, rally and workplace action you can.
  • Step down from all workplace committees (except Health and Safety, which is mandated by law).
  • Step down from all acting management assignments
  • Step down from all acting positions outside the OPSEU bargaining unit
  • Take all of your designated breaks and lunch breaks.
  • Do NOT work any unpaid hours to “catch up” on the employer’s work.
  • Do NOT perform any duties that are designated as management work.

In the near future, we will convey other legal actions that may also be effective in sending a startling wake up to this employer.

Bully tactics will not work

As we stated earlier, we will NOT accept the across-the-board cuts the employer is demanding. It is tragic that the same Premier who has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on private companies and contractors has the audacity to stand before us and state “the cupboard is bare.” This is a show of bravado for the people of Ontario that she is tough, when the reality is the money she wasted could have provided a fair contract for all OPS members…and eliminated half the Ontario deficit.

We will not allow the government to slap our faces in order to save their own.

Stay tuned 

OPSEU Communications will send out bargaining bulletins with updated information during OPS negotiations.

Stay informed, get involved, and show your solidarity. Together we will get a fair and decent contract!!

Don’t listen to rumours! TableTalk Update is your only official communication from the OPS Bargaining Teams.

Your OPS Bargaining teams


Central/Unified Team

Roxanne Barnes, CERC (Chair)

Ron Langer, Region 1 (Vice Chair)

Elaine Young, Region 2

Betty Marchegiano, Region 3

Dylan Lineger, Region 4

Dennis Wilson, Region 5

Beth Anich, Region 6

John Watson, Region 7

Mickey Riccardi, Administration

Glenna Caldwell, Corrections

Cindy Falcao, Institutional and Health Care

Tim Elphick, Office Administration

Johanne Bourgeois, Office Administration

John Berry, Operational and Maintenance/Technical

Steve Anderson, Fixed Term

Ruth Hamilton, Staff Negotiator


Corrections Team

John McLaren, Region 1

Dan Sidsworth, Region 2

Gord Longhi, Region 3 (Vice-Chair)

Tom O’Neill, Region 4 (Chair)

Monte Vieselmeyer, Region 5

Scott McIntyre, Region 6

Barb Friday, Region 7

Anastasios Zafiriadis, Staff Negotiator


Original authorized for distribution:


Roxanne Barnes, Chair

Central/Unified Team


Tom O’Neill, Chair

Corrections Team


Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President

Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Contact us:


Central/Unified Team


Corrections Team

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