Toronto – All 24 non-management staff at Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto (NEW) are the newest members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). The workers voted to join OPSEU on November 23.
“This is wonderful news for both the union and these hardworking staff,” said Kareen Marshall, chair of OPSEU’s Community Agencies Division. “There was some stiff opposition to their unionizing, but they stayed the course, and now they’re proud members of OPSEU – and I’m very proud of them.”
NEW is a non-profit settlement organization providing a broad range of services that help newcomer women learn English, acquire employment-related skills and develop cultural understanding. The agency has been facilitating successful integration into the community for 32 years.
Staff specialize in a number of different areas, including child care, employment, ESL, and youth outreach. For some time, they had been seeking improved compensation, clearly defined policies and processes and a voice in the workplace.
“They were looking for union representation,” said Marshall, “and they had heard a lot of good things about OPSEU from other community agencies. OPSEU represents hundreds of agencies across Ontario, and we were happy to show them the kinds of agreements we had helped negotiate. NEW staff were impressed.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, said he was delighted to hear about the certification vote.
“At the start of a new year, we like to count our blessings. This agency, and the caring and dedicated staff who help some very vulnerable members of our community, are a blessing to society, and I know they’re a great addition to our OPSEU family.
“I wish them a very warm welcome to OPSEU and can assure them they’ll have all possible resources at their disposal as they negotiate their first collective agreement.”
NEW helps some 3,000 women a year has a large number of funding partners, including the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and the Ontario Women’s Directorate.
For more information: Kareen Marshall, 416-540-3759