In a surprise move on February 19, 2015, the employer has notified their managers that they have commenced Essential and Emergency Services (EES) negotiations with the Corrections Bargaining Team.
Earlier in the day, the Corrections Team was at the table with the employer negotiating contract provisions then adjourned to prepare for the OPS Teletown Hall at 12:30 p.m. Prior to that call, the employer indicated that they intended to provide the disclosure documents to start Essential Services negotiations.
As of right now, your Corrections Bargaining Team has not officially met with the employer to receive these documents. In fact, the employer was aware that we were prepared to begin tabling the Corrections monetary proposals at our next scheduled meeting.
However, while the Team Chair and Vice-Chair were on the Teletown Hall call informing members that Corrections had not yet begun negotiating essential services (which was officially correct), the employer had already sent a memo to all their managers stating the opposite, a memo that managers rapidly began “sharing” with OPSEU members.
If the employer is, as they stated, “committed to negotiating a collective agreement with OPSEU” then we can only wonder why they are pushing to negotiate EES agreements.
It is our opinion that this move shows disdain and a complete lack of respect for the collective bargaining process, a process that the Premier publicly declares that she believes in. We believe these actions were meant solely to undermine the Team’s credibility with our members, and to create confusion and distrust. While we had hoped for better behaviour from the employer, we are not surprised they have resorted to these tactics.
Your Team remains committed to negotiating a fair collective agreement for the members of the Corrections Division. Our hope is that the members will see this unethical employer tactic for exactly what it is, and continue to support your team.
Tom O’Neill, Chair, Corrections Team
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President