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Keystone workers celebrate first contract

Community Agencies Sector 5

Owen Sound – Some 80 workers at Keystone Child, Youth and Family Services – members of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 295 – have ratified their first collective agreement.

Workers with Keystone, which is located in Bruce and Grey counties, became members of OPSEU in December 2014. The three-year contract, spanning 2015 to 2017, includes annual wage increases, benefit gains, on-call language, improved layoff language, and mileage increases. The ratification vote took place on October 26.

“I'm immensely proud of our membership for their support and commitment to such a lengthy negotiation process," said OPSEU local president Diane Liska. “It was an uphill battle all the way, but we feel positively about where we’ve landed with this current agreement. Resiliency and dedication to promoting solidarity of our membership were readily apparent throughout.

“There was never a question of going backwards,” Liska continued. “Our membership had voted to have a voice in the workplace, and by seeing it through, we ended up with substantial gains.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said he was delighted with the outcome.

“I’ve been keeping a close eye on the situation with Keystone since they joined us,” said Thomas, “because I really admire these workers. I admire the quality of the services they provide and their dedication – they know how important it is to their clients and to the well-being of their community.

“Clients receive the best possible services when those who provide them are treated fairly. This new contract treats these workers fairly, and I couldn’t be happier for them.”

Keystone is a non-profit prevention and counselling agency. Since 1974, it has provided a wide variety of counselling and residential services for children, youth, and families in Grey and Bruce.

For more information: Diane Liska, 519-378-6059