We are midway through local demand-setting. Locals have received the province-wide and their local's results from the online bargaining survey. Two other factors are also contributing to the bargaining environment this round: AMAPCEO is in conciliation and we are in the midst of a provincial election.
You have received information about the major concessions faced by AMAPCEO. 2014-04_ops_bargaining_outlook_.pdf These cuts and worse could come to the OPSEU table when we start negotiating a new contract in November:
- the replacement of current paramedical coverage with a single amount, $600, to cover the employee and their family, with the exception of psychology and speech therapy;
- punitive changes to Long Term Income Protection (LTIP) that will reduce employees' current income and their pensions;
- changes to Workplace Safety and Insurance that will cut pay during the waiting period and when the WSIB loss of earning award is made for the first three months;
- extension of the wage freeze for another year and any wage increases after that to be offset by an equivalent concession: in other words, employees have to pay for their own wage increase;
- termination pay to be capped at accrual of entitlement up to April 1, 2014, payable at the wage rages applicable on April 1, 2014;
- elimination of the one-time five-day vacation leave at the 25-year anniversary mark and for 64-year-olds with 25 years of service.
Cuts to the public sector are very much on the table as we saw from the 2014 Budget tabled on Thursday. The Budget called for:
- A further $1.25 billion in cuts to program spending – cuts that have not yet been identified.
- "Managing public-sector compensation costs" within available funding or through "efficiency and productivity gains," meaning any wage gains would be paid with layoffs – as long as those remaining behind could be made to work harder. Otherwise, wages would be "frozen," that is, reduced by the rate of inflation.
- Asset sales and more privatization.
For more information, read OPSEU's Special Report on The Ontario Budget and the 2014 Election.pdf
We strongly encourage a healthy debate and discussion of members' priority demands and the bargaining environment at all local demand-setting meetings. The more informed we are, the better equipped we are to advocate for an Ontario built on a foundation of quality public services funded by fair and adequate taxes.