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Developmental services workers give thumbs-up to first contract

We the North
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Newmarket – Some 200 developmental services workers with Community Living Newmarket/Aurora District are celebrating after voting yesterday 87 per cent in favour of their first contract.

The result means that two and a half years after joining the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and 19 months after negotiations began, the workers finally have a collective agreement in place. It includes:

  • a $1-per-hour wage increase for all job classifications
  • an additional 65-cent-an-hour increase for the lowest-paid job classifications
  • clearly defined job classifications and pay rates
  • one extra vacation day per year, as well as the August civic holiday off with pay
  • job security, seniority, and layoff and recall language
  • a comprehensive grievance procedure
  • a mileage increase of three cents per kilometre
  • employer-paid cleaning of member vehicles when used for work

OPSEU Local 386 President Kelly Holmes said her members were happy with the contract and relieved that it was ratified by such a large margin. “This is a time for rejoicing. After the campaign to organize the workers and then the long months of bargaining, we’re tired but delighted by the result.

“Right to the end, our members’ solidarity never faltered,” she said. “They gave the union a 94 per cent strike mandate – a powerful bargaining tool that brought real results – and now they’ve massively approved the contract.

“I want to thank and congratulate all the members and the bargaining team,” she concluded. “They did a fantastic job.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas added his own expression of congratulations. “I’ve followed this campaign over a long period of time, and I couldn’t be happier for the members at the final outcome. It shows what a potent mix patience, determination and solidarity make.

“My thanks go out to the local officials and to the bargaining team for a job well done. I’m proud of them and their tireless efforts.”

For more information: Kelly Holmes, 905-441-6171