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Maison Fraternité finds a home in OPSEU

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Ottawa – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) continues to grow in strength, with 61 staff at Maison Fraternité voting to become members of the union. The agency provides treatment and rehabilitation services for francophones with addictions and/or mental health issues.

“OPSEU will now represent all non-managerial staff at Maison Fraternité,” said Ed Arvelin, chair of OPSEU’s Mental Health and Addictions Division. “That includes psychotherapists, intervenors, and educators, as well as support staff.”

Arvelin said there were a large number of reasons for unionizing. “Workers were looking for compensation that better reflected their qualifications and experience. They were seeking a voice on issues like shift allocation, hiring, and promotion. Finally, staff were concerned that clients were not getting the best-possible services and wanted a say on the quality of the care they delivered.”

When asked why Maison Fraternité workers chose OPSEU, Arvelin said that OPSEU was the clear choice from the beginning.

“Staff were impressed with OPSEU’s size and the impressive array of resources it can deliver. They also appreciated the large numbers of mental health and addictions workers the union already represented – and its enviable record for negotiating good collective agreements. As francophones serving francophones, they were looking for a union that could accommodate their linguistic needs.”

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, said he was proud of the workers’ determination to unionize in the face of some significant employer intimidation.

“The staff at Maison Fraternité demonstrated a remarkable degree of solidarity throughout the process of joining the union. This bodes extremely well for their future, particularly as they prepare to negotiate their first collective agreement.

“They now join some 8,000 other mental health and addictions professionals within the OPSEU family. They’ve chosen OPSEU because it’s the union best equipped to defend and advance the interests of mental health workers who, in turn, give their all to equip vulnerable individuals with the means to participate fully in the community.

“On behalf of the over 130,000 members of OPSEU, I wish the workers at Maison Fraternité a very warm welcome. Bienvenue…chez vous!”

For more information: Ed Arvelin, 807-628-9187