The Minority Report
As many of you know, we have a tentative agreement in place and we will be voting on this between October 27th and 29th (actual date and location in Kingston has not yet been announced). The announcement came out with a small excerpt saying there were two members of the bargaining team who did not think the tentative agreement was good for OPSEU OPSers.
If you were wondering the reasoning for not supporting the tentative agreement, look no further. Below is an authorized message from Dylan Lineger, one of the bargaining team members, giving his Minority Report. There is a link to a PowerPoint presentation as well.
News of a tentative agreement for the OPS Central and Unified bargaining teams has been greeted with quite a bit of relief. Gareth Jones our RVP is working at scheduling information sessions in the Region on the details of the agreements. The Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) for the Central and Unified agreements were released today.
As some may have noticed it also stated that I voted against this agreement. This was a difficult choice but I view the provisions on mandatory rehabilitation directed by the insurance carrier to be an Ontario Human Rights Code violation and so I was not willing so sign an agreement that I believe has illegal provisions.
A lot of hard work went into this agreement. There are many language improvements that will be of great assistance to members and Locals. However the cost is too high. The deferral of progression (no movement in the grid) for two years is victimizing the newest workers and those moving through their career to new positions. Termination pay ends after 2016 for any still accruing. This is sacrificed for a very modest wage increase in year three and a non-pensionable lump sum in year two.
I believe in getting a fair contract for you, but this agreement is tipped too far to the Employer. It is called “net-zero” but we are losing more than we are getting. It will be up to you to decide what you think about this deal and vote your conscience. If it is defeated we will go back to the table and fight even harder, it does not mean a strike right away. There is still a large body of essential services work to do even if at an impasse. I know this has been a long and hard bargaining round. The desire for some form of stability is strong. But we also have to think about all those who fought for us in the past and the message we are sending to the next generation of worker. We will rely on them to fight to protect our pensions and benefits in the future.
This employer will continue the assault on our collective agreement next round. It was 3% below last time, merit freezes this time. How bad will it be next time? I will be voting against this agreement when it comes time for ratification. I believe we can do better and that you deserve better. The team has fought very hard. It is this employer that has refused to deal with you with fairness and respect.
You will see a lot of information over the next few days and weeks and then you will have to decide how you want to vote. Regardless of what you think of the deal is it important to go and vote. We set the stage for next time every time we vote and if turnout is low, the Employer thinks we don’t care about our working conditions. So please, get informed, ask questions and vote.
It has been an honour and privilege to fight for you and the region at the bargaining table. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Please feel free to share my words and the presentation as you see fit if you have OPS members in your locals.
Dylan Lineger, Region 4 Central Rep.