St. Joe’s and St. Mike’s Q and A: Now is your chance for change!

St. Joe’s and St. Mike’s Q and A: Now is your chance for change!


OPSEU represents the largest number of allied health professionals across Ontario; that’s because the majority of allied health professionals choose to be members of OPSEU. With more than 25,000 members at 86 hospitals across the province, OPSEU has the history, experience and resources to back you up.

OPSEU’s got more than 20 years of experience with merger votes (PSLRTAs). Our track record speaks for itself when it comes to bargaining new collective agreements, and maintaining superior contract provisions. While no union can guarantee an outcome in bargaining, it’s always better to have experience on your side.

Question 1:

What percentage is deducted for union dues by your union? What do these dues pay for? Are financial statements issued or available for how this money is spent?

OPSEU’s union dues are plain and simple. They are 1.375 per cent of your gross income and that covers all union expenses – both central and local.

A portion of your dues comes back to your Local as a quarterly rebate to be spent as the membership sees fit, on things like holiday parties, sponsoring a community sports team, donations to local charities, or to book off local executive members for union business. This money belongs to your local, and YOU decide how it’s spent. The local executive must have YOUR approval on how the money is spent.

To ensure transparency and accountability, all locals MUST have an elected treasurer, and your local treasurer MUST account for every dollar spent through an audit reporting system called the Trustee’s Audit Report (TARs). This is done twice a year, as per the OPSEU Constitution. Treasurers give a report at every General Membership Meeting so that members always know how and why their dues are spent.

Two trustees, elected by YOU at a General Membership Meeting, must sign off on the audit reports before they are submitted to OPSEU. The Trustees ensure all the spending of the Local is accounted for and that the spending falls within the Local’s by-laws.

TARs are filed for the periods from January 1 to June 30 and July 1 to December 31 of each year. It is important that the audits be completed in a timely fashion as all dues rebates received by the Local from Head Office are contingent upon the TARs being completed and submitted.

On October 23, 2013, OPSEU’s Executive Board voted to amend the Local rebate formula. The purpose of the change was to clarify the complex formula, and increase the amount received by most Locals. The new rebate formula is $31 per member for the first 50 members and $14 per member for the remaining members.

Question 2:

Would we be forced to enter into OPSEU central’s collective agreement?

Absolutely not.

No OPSEU local is forced to join OPSEU’s central collective agreement. Both the bargaining unit and the hospital must agree to participate in the OPSEU central bargaining process. As members, you vote on whether you want to participate in central bargaining with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA). St. Joe’s and St. Mike’s would also have to agree to bargain at the central table.

Additionally, when a PSLRTA merger vote occurs, the newly configured bargaining unit must negotiate a new first collective agreement with their employer, no matter which union is chosen. Until a new first contract is negotiated, you will continue to follow your current collective agreement or terms and conditions. For this reason, you cannot opt into OPSEU’s central collective agreement right away.

Question 3:

How will the pay scale be determined after the merger vote?

After the merger vote, the union you choose will bargain a brand new first collective agreement for the newly configured bargaining unit. Until this agreement is concluded, your terms and conditions – including your rates of pay – remain “as is.”

During bargaining for the new first collective agreement, OPSEU will negotiate to harmonize all wage rates to the highest rate in each classification. OPSEU’s goal is always to secure the best wages and provisions.

Question 4:

Will anybody have their pay reduced after this vote?

No. A brand new contract must be negotiated between the parties, and wages will be determined during that process. OPSEU has a proven track record of negotiating and maintaining superior provisions when bargaining a new collective agreement after a PSLRTA. That being said, no union can guarantee the outcome of bargaining.

Question 5:

What is “red circling” and will it affect anybody in our bargaining unit after this vote?

“Red circling” can occur when some provisions in a collective agreement that are superior to those of other members are not achieved in the bargaining process. The members who hold the superior condition maintain that entitlement (such as a superior wage rate), until the wage rates of other members in the classification catch up through general wage increases. In other words, an individual’s wage rate that has been red circled would not increase until the rates of those at the same step, in the same classification, reach parity.

As noted above, a new contract will have to be negotiated for everyone in the newly formed bargaining unit. The existing terms and conditions for the members from both St. Joe’s and St. Mike’s will be considered. With OPSEU’s strong track record in bargaining a first contract after a PSLRTA, we would negotiate that all members be bumped up to the highest wages and that no red circling should occur.

Question 6:

How will each union handle job postings at St. Joe’s and St. Mike’s? For example, will an opening at St. Mike’s be offered first to the staff at St. Mike’s and then to staff at St. Joe’s or will all staff within the single bargaining unit equal access?

St. Joe’s, St. Mike’s, and Providence are no longer considered separate entities. Therefore, when a job is posted, all members from any location are given equal access and ability to apply. If for any reason the members in the new bargaining unit wanted specific language around job postings, that would need to be determined by the members at a demand set meeting, and new language would need to be negotiated. OPSEU represents many members who work in multi-site hospitals, and has a lot of experience in bargaining good contract language.

Question 7:

What kind of representation is available with OPSEU and CNFIU (i.e. who is available on site? What is the internal hierarchy/structure of employee members? How many stewards can there be and how are these stewards determined?)

The great thing about OPSEU is that you have resources and support on multiple levels.

1. You will have your own local executive, which will consist of the following positions:
• President
• Vice-President
• Treasurer
• Secretary
• Chief Steward
• Unit Steward

These individuals are your colleagues from your hospital, and they are elected by you. Elections are held every two years. Please note: If you choose OPSEU, we will hold re-elections after the PSLRTA in order to offer all members the opportunity to run for positions.

In addition to your local executive you will have stewards. OPSEU does not put a cap on how many stewards are allowed. We welcome anyone who would like to volunteer their time. That being said, once a new collective agreement has been negotiated, your employer will typically try to put a limit on the number of stewards that they will “recognize” in the bargaining unit. This means that there will only be a certain number of stewards that are allowed to participate in meetings that involve HR. OPSEU will push to have 1 steward for every 10 members.

2. OPSEU Staff Representative: Kayla MacNeil-De-Souza will be your designated OPSEU point person, and she will be there to assist you with any issues or concerns. Your Staff Representative is a great resource and comes from a job in the hospital sector.

3. Research Officers: OPSEU has 4 research officers designated to the Hospital Professionals Division.

4. Negotiators: OPSEU has a dedicated sector negotiator who works in conjunction with the research officers, and is an expert in bargaining with hospital employers for the specific interests of hospital professionals.

5. More than 300 experienced staff, including specialists in bargaining, grievance handling, pensions and benefits, pay equity, job security health and safety, campaigns, communications, education, and more.

6. President and Executive Board Members: You are represented by OPSEU’s President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. Smokey is also a hospital worker from Kingston, Ontario. If at any time you feel that your needs or expectations of service are not being met through the above listed avenues, Smokey takes pride in being the most accessible union president and you are able to contact him directly.

OPSEU has divided the province into 7 geographical regions. The members from each region elect three OPSEU members to become Executive Board Members (EBMs). EBMs must ensure that the members within their region are receiving the highest quality service. You are in Region 5, which consists of the GTA. The current Region 5 EBMs are: Myles Magner, Julius Arscott, and Kingsley Kwok. For more info visit:

7. OPSEU’s sector structure: As the union representing the largest number of allied health professionals in Ontario, OPSEU’s Hospital Professionals Division (HPD) is a strong voice for all hospital professionals locally and provincially. You will be able to connect with other OPSEU members from the Hospital Professionals Division across the province on issues like bargaining, hospital funding and more. With OPSEU’s HPD, you’ve got the strength of 25,000 members to back you up. For more details about the HPD structure, visit:

With OPSEU, you’ve got experience, leadership and resources on your side.

Question 8:

Do you have a return to work policy with your union?

OPSEU does not have specific return to work language due to the fact that under section 13 of the Human Rights Code there is a duty to accommodate. OPSEU works closely with each affected member to design a plan that is tailored to their specific needs and accommodations to ensure they return to work in a safe and healthy timeframe.

Thank you for your excellent questions, and we look forward to ongoing dialogue. We’d be happy to your answer questions at any time!

Your Union Dues, plain and simple

How much are OPSEU dues?

OPSEU members pay union dues of 1.375 per cent of their pay. This covers all union expenses – both central and Local.

Why does the union collect dues?

Dues are virtually the only source of union funds. OPSEU doesn’t get money from employers or government. The power of working together and pooling resources means your relatively small dues contribution creates a huge network of support.

Who sets union dues?

Union members like yourself. Your Convention delegates approve the annual budget and the dues rate. They decide what they want the union to do, and approve dues to cover those activities.

What do I get for my money?

  • Your dues pay for more than 300 experienced staff, including specialists in bargaining, grievance handling, pensions, pay equity, benefits, health and safety, human rights, communications, education, research, organizing and more.
  • Your dues pay for a network of 20 staffed regional offices and 24 accessible membership centres, bringing OPSEU resources to communities across Ontario.
  • Your dues pay for all member expenses, including travel, accommodation and meals for bargaining, grievance hearings, education, conventions and conferences. Your Local doesn’t have to cover any of the essential “big ticket” items.
  • Your dues pay for skills training so you and your co-workers can run an effective Local and participate in the decisions affecting the union.
  • Your dues allow you to book off members to do union work without losing pay.
  • Your dues pay for skilled representation if your employer violates your contract.

How does my Local operate?

In OPSEU, all major union expenses are covered centrally. Every local, however small, can afford to defend its members and attend important meetings. A portion of your dues dollar comes back to your Local as a quarterly rebate. A typical OPSEU Local with about 250 members receives nearly $15,000 a year in rebates, and chooses how to spend them.

OPSEU puts a lot of emphasis on transparency and accountability. That’s why all locals must have an elected treasurer, and your local treasurer must account for every dollar spent through an audit reporting system called the Trustee’s Audit Report (TARs). It’s important for local executives to have some spending flexibility, and OPSEU’s bylaws ensure there is a reasonable cap on any spending that doesn’t have the members’ approval. Treasurers give a report at every General Membership Meeting, so that members always know how and why their dues are spent.