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Municipally Speaking newsletter – Autumn 2019

OPSEU Sector 13 Municipalities

Message from the President: Ford’s disappearing act

The most unpopular Premier in Ontario history stayed out of sight during the federal election. But OPSEU hasn’t been lulled into a sense of complacency by the Premier’s sudden absence. We’re prepared for further assaults on public services.

But the election period has shown us the great power that working people can wield against this government. During last year’s provincial election, Doug Ford campaigned on a promise – one of a very few – to upload Toronto’s subway system to the province.

Amidst an uproar from citizens and the media, Ford walked back his promise. Not only that, he promised billions more to help build more transit in the city.

We’ve also recently witnessed Ford climb down from his cuts to autism funding and social assistance benefits – thanks to an outcry from OPSEU and other activists for the most vulnerable people of this province.

The restored and extending funding comes on the heels of a report by the province’s Financial Accountability Office showing the deficit is half what the Tories claimed it was. The Premier is fully aware that OPSEU will not accept any cuts aimed at Ontario’s public and broader public sector workers to pay for his tax cuts to wealthy corporations. In fact, every time OPSEU goes to the bargaining table, we’re going to hang tough and get the fair deals that all of our members deserve – including our hardworking municipal workers.

The key to a getting a great contract is the backing of its members. Anyone who has already been at the bargaining table will tell you that having the membership solidly behind you is the ace up their sleeve. When governments and employers see that neither the bargaining team nor the membership is going to back down, they know they must bargain in good faith. That’s the kind of solidarity and determination and grit that we’re going to bring to each and every bargaining table.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas President
Ontario Public Service Employees Union

OPSEU head office is home to honeybees

At our most recent sector executive meeting, we ventured to the rooftop to see the honeybees. Check out the 10 hives on the rooftop, which are home to approximately 20,000 honeybees!

Watch the video: “Honey bees now call OPSEU home” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2TfZvAHwSg

Bargaining Conference April 2020

Sector 13’s second Bargaining Conference has been extended to a two-day event, scheduled for April 2020. The conference will give everyone a chance to learn more about current bargaining trends, best practices, and ways we can achieve stronger contract language.

Our goal will be to provide Sector 13 bargaining team members with the tools they’ll need to improve their skills on a host of issues and bargaining techniques.

This year, we’ll cover recent bargaining settlements, best language for contracts, and potential sector impacts related to government changes. There will also be a presentation about OMERS.

Mark your calendar

Here are a number of upcoming OPSEU events:

  • BPS Conference: November 15, 16 and 17
  • Sector 13 Bargaining Conference: April 2020
  • OPSEU Convention: May 21-23, 2020

2019 BPS Conference is coming soon

The BPS Conference will open November 15, followed by sector divisional meetings on November 16 and 17. All events and activities will take place at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in downtown Toronto.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Work-life balance and beyond – mental health.”

A reminder that if you haven’t already completed your registration in the Member Portal on OPSEU’s website, please do so.

Visit the Member Portal: https://members.opseu.org/

Bargaining trends we’re watching

Eight contracts have been ratified since April 2019. We currently have one unit in conciliation, while three other units are preparing to bargain. Our units continue to negotiate wage increases in excess of one per cent, and we continue to see improvements in contract language.

Employment services are changing

For those units affected by the pending changes to employment services in Ontario, please review the government’s call for proposal. OPSEU is currently preparing a campaign with respect to the changes to employment services. This is a result of the provinces plan to change how employment services are delivered. Be sure to check out the government’s proposal.

View the proposal: http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/publications/cm-est-call-for-proposal-cfp-en.pdf

Meet Yzer!

At the last BPS Conference in 2017, funds were raised in support of sponsoring a service dog.

Yzer is a facility service dog from National Service Dogs, located in Cambridge, Ontario. This beautiful dog will help many people get through difficult times in their lives, as he will be assigned to the London Courts.

Watch the video: “Meet Yzer, the OPSEU sponsored facility service dog” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fJbK6TIvrk&feature=youtu.be

Sector 13 Divisional Executive

Tara Langford

Theresa O’Connor

Dwayne Ebbers

Pam Schmidt

Kerri Wells