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Facts vs. Spin on the Unified OPS Collective Agreement

Recent media coverage of a dispute between the province and the Association of Management Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario (AMAPCEO) and the debate about it among MPPs contain some statements worth clarifying. 

Here are a few facts to set against media hype and what looks like “political spin” at Queens Park from the government and the Conservatives:

There is an additional one per cent general wage increase for 2012. 

This wage increase was negotiated in 2008-09 along with the other provisions of the current agreement.  Members were informed of this at information sessions and at votes held to ratify the contract.

The employer insisted that this one per cent – the final stage of the 2009-2012 wage increases – remain confidential beyond our bargaining and ratification procedures.  OPSEU consented to that arrangement.

Those are the basic facts.  Some of it came to light at the Labour Board this week because the province was not successful in trying to keep the information from being revealed to AMAPCEO.

Media reports say AMAPCEO and now some employers are complaining about their lack of knowledge about one element of a contract negotiated and ratified two years ago.   To that, OPSEU says we are proud of our strength and our ongoing determination to organize and mobilize members and send in teams to negotiate the best possible contract – in the OPS and every other membership sector.  

The provision of quality public services through good economic times and bad is what OPSEU members do.  We have also come together for 100 years now to bargain hard for fairness for front line staff and for our communities – for decent wages and benefits, for protection from injury, for pay equity, for pensions, for human rights. 

There will always be politicians who want to scapegoat us.  It’s cheap and easy. It scores points with some voters. We’re seeing it from Wisconsin to Queens Park to Ottawa. It’s easier than wrestling with the exploding cost of corporate tax cuts or addressing the poverty faced by too many children and seniors or reforming mental health care.

With the solidarity of working people and our allies, we will continue to push back against reactionary political forces and we will work towards the kind of Ontario we can all be proud of.