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Local 397 bargaining bulletin: Conciliation has been requested

Your bargaining team has been working tirelessly over the past couple of months to negotiate a transitional agreement from your current collective agreement to a new OPSEU/SEFPO collective agreement.

While negotiation meetings remained virtual, the parties agreed to exchange non-monetary proposals on April 26 and met for seven days, but made little progress.

After lengthy discussions around part-time hours of work and availability requirements, we have reached an impasse.

As the parties advanced to monetary proposals, the employer demanded concessions that included:
  • reducing vacation entitlement
  • cutting insured benefits to those on personal leaves, long-term disability and WSIB benefits
  • lowering the long-term disability insurance percentage
  • introducing deductibles for health care and co-pay for dental
  • limiting dental recall

We were not offered a competitive or comparable wage increase, and we were met with hesitation when trying to introduce non-monetary proposals to assist us in reaching mutual goals. We worked tirelessly during the pandemic pitching in to help where needed, but it all went by the wayside when we tried to negotiate enhancements for all our members.

We have attempted to work with the employer using an interest-based approach. Unfortunately, given the impasse, we have applied for conciliation.

Conciliation is like mediation: It is voluntary and flexible. The parties seek to reach a deal with the help of a conciliator, who acts as a neutral third party. The conciliator helps the parties by mediating any outstanding issues.

We are currently waiting for a conciliator to be assigned. Then we will select dates to meet with the employer. With the help of a conciliator, we are optimistic a fair deal can be reached.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns at opseulocal397@gmail.com.

In solidarity,

Your OPSEU/SEFPO Local 397 Bargaining Team:

Paola Oke – Chair
Lisa Paquette – Secretary
Matt Hickey – Communications Officer
Andrew Bailey – Mobilizer
Chris Skinner – Mobilizer
Megan Chidgey – Staff Representative, Orillia Regional Office