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OPS Members give significant strike mandate to bargaining teams

ONTARIO – Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) have given a solid strike mandate in response to the Wynne government’s concession demands at the bargaining table.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, whose union represents the 35,000 Ontario government workers employed directly by the Ontario Public Service (OPS), said these demands would strip away various existing rights and drive down employee compensation. The proposals range from the employer paying less for benefit premiums to new lower wage rates for new hires and a 12-year progression to salary maximums.

“This concession-filled proposal is entirely unacceptable,” Thomas said. “This attack is designed to undermine public services and the lives of workers that already suffered years of wage freezes. In response, our bargaining teams decided to conduct a strike mandate vote. The result is now in and a strong vote in favour of strike action has been achieved.”

The total results for the Central contract group were 90 per cent in favour of strike action. The Corrections Unit and Unified Unit gave 96 per cent and 88 per cent respectively for their wage categories.

“This will provide the team with the ability to push back from these concessions,” Thomas said. “Wynne wants to lower costs so services would be easier to outsource and privatize. We see exactly how well outsourcing is working in their latest failure with the ongoing problems with the computers at ODSP and Ontario Works.”

Thomas went on to say that the union contract is the only barrier to saving public sector jobs, which will save Ontario’s public services.

“We know, and have the evidence, that public sector workers can do it better and cheaper than private companies can,” Thomas said. “This strong strike mandate is evidence that our members have strong support for the OPSEU negotiating committee and their resolve to continue to provide the best services to the people of Ontario.

For more information:

Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 416-443-8888

Don Ford, OPSEU Communications: 416-448-7442

Related: OPS Bargaining 2014 Index Page