MacCharles named new MCYS minister; DivEx looks forward to first meeting
Tracy MacCharles (Pickering – Scarborough East) was named this week as the new minister for the Ministry for Children and Youth Services, replacing Teresa Piruzza (Windsor West) who was the lone Liberal cabinet member defeated in the June 12 provincial election. MacCharles had served as Parliamentary Assistant to Piruzza from October 2011 to February 2013 when she was appointed as Minister of Consumer Services under the new government of Kathleen Wynne.
“We congratulate Ms MacCharles on her new appointment and look forward to meeting with her in the near future” said Jane Kaija, chair of OPSEU’s CAS divisional executive. “But a new minister alone doesn’t magically sweep away many of the issues of concern to our members that her predecessors fell short of fulfilling in a meaningful way.”
Those issues include: workload, health and safety, an end to layoffs in the CAS and a stop to group home and program closures.
First elected to Queen’s Park in 2011, MacCharles has a career background in human resources management in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
Prior to her election in 2011, MacCharles was also an activist on behalf of those with disabilities. She was the past chair of the Ontario Accessibility Standards Advisory Council with a mandate to advise the Minister of Community and Social Services on issues of accessibility and the disabled.
Making the issue of workload visible
Your sector executive and bargaining council want to support all units to enforce workload articles in collective agreements and employer policies.
The systemic problem of overwork in CAS workplaces is a management issue, not a problem of individual competency. Overwork impacts on our health and contributes to instability in child protection with high turnover rates and LTD absences. Collectively we can bring attention to this issue when the real costs of overwork are felt by management. For example, claiming overtime for hours worked is necessary if we want to defend workload limits.
If we all commit to enforcing our collective agreements, employer policies and claiming overtime we will effectively send a message to employers and government that this systemic problem is costly and dangerous.
October- November Unit meetings on “Workload and Overwork”
In the autumn, all CAS units will be encouraged and supported to hold an information meeting on how to address “Workload and Overwork” in their local. A power point presentation will be distributed to all CAS local executives to assist with discussions on how to use enforcement tools at the local level. Your local executive needs all members to support a collective strategy to address this issue. We know that standing together as one is key to making change.
Take collective action on workload today
We are asking all CAS members to start claiming unpaid overtime hours and to file individual / group grievances where applicable.
We are agitating for change because we know that overwork always hurts our clients first. Together, its’ time to advocate for change.
Priority demands to be set at CAS bargaining council Oct. 16-17
Circle these dates! The fall bargaining council meeting will be held in Toronto on Oct. 16-17.
(Units who are in bargaining are invited to attend as per the sector bylaws).
A majority of OPSEU bargaining units in child welfare will begin preparations for setting their coordinated strategy and mapping out bargaining time lines. Systemic issues will be debated and voted on by the council as sector bargaining priorities to be endorsed by local demand setting meetings.
The bargaining council draws representatives from all of OPSEU’s CAS locals (about 20 members in all) along with members of the divisional executive to discuss bargaining strategy and campaign mobilizing. Reps also use the occasion to exchange ideas on how we can put your priorities at the centre of future campaigns and mobilizing efforts.
On July 2, wear black to work!
As part of OPSEU’s ongoing campaign to draw attention to increasing workloads, funding cutbacks and layoffs, CAS members in ALL locals are urged to wear black to work on Wednesday July, 2. The first Wednesday of each month has been designated for this workplace action and, to-date, the response by members has been outstanding!
Let’s all stand together for child protection services that we can be proud of. We know that investing in prevention reduces the need for protection.
Members of your CAS bargaining council
L.668 Sudbury & Manitoulin CAS
Region 1 Rep
L. 116- CAS of London and Middlesex
Region 2 Rep
L.258 – Waterloo CAS
Region 3 Rep
L.334 -Kawartha-Haliburton CAS
Region 4 Rep
CAS of UTD Counties of Stormon
Region 6 Rep
CAS- Sudbury & Manitoulin
CASe Notes is authorized for distribution by:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
CAS Sector Chair