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Central/Unified OPS workers ratify new contract

(TORONTO) – Members of the OPS’s Central division has voted 67 per cent in favour of the tentative agreement recently reached between OPSEU and the Ontario government, while the Unified division has approved it by 78 per cent. The ratification vote was held on October 27, 28 and 29.

The new three-year contract covers the period January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2017. Highlights of the agreement include:

  • a 1.4 per cent lump sum award in 2016
  • a 1.4 per cent wage increase in 2017
  • rejection of a three-tiered (80, 50 and 20 per cent) drug reimbursement plan
  • rejection of a 12-step salary grid
  • rejection of a five per cent lower starting wage for OPSEU-represented positions
  • insertion of key anti-privatization language for enhanced job security
  • extension of the cap on termination pay to December 31, 2016

While pleased that the tentative deal had been ratified, Central/Unified Chair Roxanne Barnes said the relatively narrow margins were cause for concern. “The team had to fight tooth and nail to defeat the most devastating concessions demanded by the government, while helping to offset the cost of inflation, which continues to take its toll on real wages. Members’ lukewarm response is an indictment of this government, which for months refused to bargain in good faith.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas shared Barnes’ ambivalence about the results. “Our members have ratified the agreement, but they’ve lost all trust in a government that has no respect for OPS employees or the valuable work they do.

“I commend these dedicated women and men for their solidarity and continued engagement in the bargaining process, and I thank the bargaining team, the Executive Board, local reps and all those involved in the negotiations for their long hours and tireless efforts in hammering out this deal.”

The Corrections bargaining team is set to resume bargaining on November 7 and 8.

For more information:
Roxanne Barnes, Chair, Central/Unified Team