Re: OPSEU members at the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation could strike June 17
Dear John Smith:
As you may know, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is currently in contract negotiations on behalf of some 1,400 employees at the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). Since bargaining began six months ago, we have made some progress at the bargaining table. But we still have some distance to go before we reach a new collective agreement.
Regrettably, MPAC has demanded significant contract concessions and offered OPSEU members a wage increase that is well below the rate of inflation – a wage cut, in real terms. We are also fighting to maintain post-retirement benefits and termination payments for our members.
In an effort to move bargaining towards an early settlement, OPSEU has set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. on June 17, 2016.
OPSEU members at MPAC understand market value – in fact, they are experts at it. So we're perplexed that MPAC's offer is so far out of sync with what Ontario municipalities, in bargaining with their own staff, have found to be fair and reasonable. This is strange, to say the least, given that MPAC is funded by municipalities.
Like your own employees, MPAC staff provide a valuable and professional service to all municipalities and municipal ratepayers. Their job, above all, is to ensure that the property assessment in Ontario is fair. Indeed, fairness is what their work is all about.
Negotiations between MPAC and OPSEU are scheduled for June 15 and 16. Given the concessions MPAC is demanding, we cannot guarantee that we will reach a collective agreement before the deadline. Our goal is to bargain a collective agreement, not a strike. But if we cannot reach an acceptable collective agreement, our members will be on strike June 17.
On behalf of MPAC employees represented by OPSEU, including many who live and vote in your community, I invite you to contact the office of MPAC's President and Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. Antoni Wisniowski, and urge him to reach a contract settlement that reflects the value of service his employees deliver to all municipal governments and millions of property owners in Ontario.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union