Clock ticks down as bargaining team meets with employer
Less than 48 hours remain before the 12:01 a.m. strike deadline on Friday, June 17. With time ticking down, the OPSEU bargaining team is holding firm on their position that workers deserve a deal that reflects the real value that they deliver to municipalities and municipal ratepayers.
While the employer continues to demand that long-serving members accept cuts to their post-retirement benefits, and refuses to table a wage increase that is in line with those seen across the municipal sector, the bargaining team continues to fight for a deal that offers fair value for the important work that MPAC workers do every day.
Your union stands with you
I joined OPSEU members from Local 552, Region 5 Executive Board Members, union staff, the President of the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Vice-President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council outside of the MPAC office in Toronto at lunchtime today.
I was there to stand with local members, and also to send a clear message to the employer – when you bargain with any one of our members, you bargain with every one of our members. I’ll say here what I said at the rally: if the employer wants to pick a fight with the 1400 members at MPAC, they had better be ready to deal with all 130,000 of us.
Your bargaining team is working hard for a deal right now, and they’ll continue to meet with the employer right up until the deadline on Friday. They’ve pushed for a fair deal so far, and they’ll continue to negotiate towards that goal. But one thing they won’t do is accept anything less than the deal that every one of you deserves.
I want to congratulate the hundreds of members across the province who joined the information pickets last Thursday. Your presence gives the team at the table added strength as they look for that fair deal. And I want you to know that I, and every one of those 130,000 members across Ontario, stand with you, now and on Friday.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Dealing with employer tricks and rumours
As we approach the strike deadline, the employer will do everything in their power to try to undercut the union’s strength, and will stop at nothing to try to break the solidarity that exists between members. After all, the employer knows, just like we know, that it is when we stand together that we are at our strongest.
We’ve already seen examples of this in some recent actions. The employer has started to filter emails that workers send to each other through their head office (which is a good reminder that everyone should be using non-work emails for strike preparations). And in an email sent out to all members earlier this week, the employer tried to undercut our bargaining team’s demands for a fair deal for all members by suggesting that members shouldn’t care about harsh cuts to benefits for retirees because they would only affect the longest-serving workers, not all workers.
What the employer didn’t count on was that our members care about the people they work with. Since this email was sent out, my inbox has filled up with email from members disgusted by the employer’s underhanded tactics. Instead of turning members against one another, these actions have brought us closer together.
These kinds of tactics are a sign of the employer’s desperation. The employer sees that members are standing together and demanding a deal that recognizes the real value they provide each and every day. So don’t be surprised if there are more rumours and employer tricks – but also don’t be taken in by them. If there is news to be shared, your bargaining team and your local leadership will share it with you, and I promise you’ll hear it from us directly.
Chair, OPSEU Bargaining Team at MPAC