Table Talk Issue 8: EES negotiations ongoing
As of last week, the Corrections Bargaining Team began officially negotiating Essential and Emergency Services (EES). Next week, they will begin face-to-face meetings with the employer to engage in the same process as the Central/Unified Team is currently in.
Negotiations at the EES tables are progressing at a measured and deliberate pace. An agreement must be reached for each of the nearly 1,600 OPS worksites in the province. Couple that with the fact that EES agreements have not been negotiated since the 2004/2005 OPS bargaining round, and it is easy to imagine that this process will take a considerable amount of time.
Your teams are making sure that these agreements are thoroughly researched and negotiated. While these agreements will be in place for this round of bargaining, they will also be used as a reference for subsequent rounds of OPS bargaining. The agreements have to be accurate, reflective of the work being performed, and ensure that the union can be effective if faced with a strike or lockout.
The challenge we face now is making sure that pressure is maintained against the employer as the teams move through the EES negotiations. This is no longer a sprint…it’s a marathon. It could be some months before EES agreements are reached at both bargaining tables. And both bargaining tables must have their agreements in place before a strike or lockout can occur.
Be assured, locals will have plenty of notice before a potential labour disruption. The teams will know when they are getting near to finishing EES negotiations. There will also be a 17-day notice of a No Board Report prior to a strike or lockout. Be mindful of this; there is no rush to put expensive strike-related items in place at this time. Locals will have plenty of notice to get strike line supports in place prior to a labour disruption.
In the months ahead, we will continue to put pressure on the Wynne government and the elected Liberal MPPs who support her plan to freeze wages, cut benefits and demand concessions from OPS workers. We want the people of Ontario to start demanding accountability and transparency from a government who lines the pockets of private corporations with billions of dollars rather than invest in quality public services. It is our job to shed light on the shadows the Wynne government operates in.
Our message IS being heard. Polling indicates that 90 per cent of Ontarians believe that the government should be transparent in how tax dollars are spent. And even the media is now questioning whether it is time for the government to stop “beating up” on public sector workers.
We have accomplished more than we could have ever hoped over the past few months. Our goal remains unchanged: a fair collective agreement for all OPS members, and recognition that we provide services better, cheaper and fairer than private contractors. This recognition is the future of public services in Ontario, and the protection of good jobs in every community in the province.
We thank you for your hard work, your dedication, your commitment and your patience. We will continue to give updates as time progresses, but in the meantime we will be working each day negotiating EES. When there is news to report, we will let you know as soon as possible. Stay tuned
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
- 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
- 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
Tom O’Neill, Chair
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President
Ontario Public Service Employees Union