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Government workers to call immediate strike vote on employer’s opening bargaining position

TORONTO – At a noon-hour rally today in front of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s constituency office, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas announced that the negotiating teams representing 35,000 direct Ministry employees will call an immediate strike vote on the employer’s opening offer at the bargaining table.

Thomas said that the government’s proposals would fundamentally restructure public services in the province, and set the stage to privatize and outsource public sector work.

“The employer’s proposals are, in a nutshell, a plan to completely dismantle the entire Ontario Public Service,” Thomas said. “Thousands of public workers could lose their jobs, and those that are left will see their wages frozen, benefits reduced, entitlements eliminated and job protections weakened.”

Joined by bargaining team chairs Roxanne Barnes and Tom O’Neill, along with a crowd of Ontario Public Service (OPS) workers, Thomas pointed out the portable toilets that were set up to underscore the announcement.

“This is exactly how we view this initial offer,” Thomas said. “There is no way our teams can begin negotiating on this document. We are looking for a strong, immediate strike vote to let the Ontario government know we will not accept this opening position. We will not spend the entire bargaining round trying to climb out of the waste. We want to negotiate a fair, sensible agreement that will not only secure Ontario’s public services, but also save the taxpayers money by eliminating privatization and outsourcing that is often double the cost of public sector workers.”

Thomas said the strike vote will occur December 3-5 across the province. The current collective agreement for OPS workers expires Dec. 31, 2014.

For more information:

Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 416-443-8888
Don Ford, OPSEU Communications: 416-448-7442

Related: OPS Bargaining 2014 Index Page