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Ontario government workers set to begin negotiating new collective agreement

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TORONTO – Bargaining teams representing 35,000 direct employees of the Ontario government will meet with government representatives for the first time on Thursday, Nov. 20 to begin talks for a new collective agreement.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said this contract is about proving that public sector workers provide the best, most economical services for all Ontarians.

“Years of cost cutting and layoffs in the public sector have reduced services and workers to the bare minimum,” Thomas said. “Our province already spends less per person on public services than any other province does. Not enough people have good jobs in Ontario. And not enough people have the quality public services they need. In this round of bargaining, we’re fighting for both.”

Thomas went on to say they can prove that, in every case, the privatization and out-sourcing of public sector jobs actually costs the government more money.

“When it comes to value for money, there is no government policy of the past 20 years that has a worse record than privatizing public services,” Thomas said. “For example, IT consultants cost more than twice as much as OPSEU-represented IT employees. We estimate the government could save at least $200 million a year by contracting IN their IT services.

“We will be negotiating for a fair collective agreement for the dedicated and professional public sector workers that Ontarian rely on, the same workers who have faced years of little or no improvements to their contract,” Thomas said. “We will also be fighting for safer and properly-staffed workplaces in Correctional Services which are becoming more dangerous every day.”

OPSEU represents all frontline Ministry employees who work directly for the Ontario government. The current collective agreement expires Dec. 31, 2014.

For more information:

Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 416-443-8888

Don Ford, OPSEU Communications: 416-448-7442

Related: OPS Bargaining 2014 Index Page