OPS Unified Arbitration Award Update – May 2024

Ontario Public Service

Updated Timeline on Arbitration Award

The employer sent out an email to OPS Unified members with an updated timeline on when members can expect wage increases, and retroactive pay from the Award. We have been putting continuous pressure on the employer to speed up the process and are deeply disappointed with their slow rollout.

You can review the entire OPS Unified wage grid, excluding nurses here. We will add the nurses wage grid as soon as the parties reach agreement on the figures.

The employer has recently provided the following targeted schedule for implementation:

  • Updates to new 2024 rate of pay are to begin early to mid-summer 2024.
  • Retroactive payments are to begin in September 2024.

We want to acknowledge that many of OPS Unified members are struggling to make ends meet and the longer the employer takes to give us our stolen wages, the more you fall into financial insecurity. We will continue to push the employer to accelerate the implementation of the Award.

Update on New Special Cases Process

In addition to the wage increases, the arbitration award included a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which outlined a new dispute resolution process to address outstanding special cases. This formal framework to process special cases creates a new mechanism for us to fight for the gains that OPS Unified members in many job classes have been fighting for.

Phase 1 of this process involves the Union selecting members to sit on the joint committee. The OPSEU/SEFPO committee members have been identified and were chosen from the last bargaining team membership.

They are as follows:

  • Chris Eckert, Chair of Committee – CERC & OCWA
  • Kevin Sprague – MNRF
  • Grace Grieve – MOH
  • Shawn Burr – MECP

The Special Case Committee met for the first time on April 22, 2024, for a short meeting to discuss Terms of Reference and process.  The parties will next meet on May 10th to discuss next steps. Committee members will be doing research on each case and will be contacting the submitting bodies for updated materials and information.

Your New OPS Unified Bargaining Team

Your newly elected OPS Unified Bargaining Team came together on April 10-12 to get to know each other and gear up for bargaining. You can read the OPS Unified teams’ bios here.

All team members and alternates attended Dismantling Anti-Black, Anti-Indigenous and All forms of Racism training, as well as preliminary OPS Unified bargaining training. This preliminary training helped build our Bargaining Team’s knowledge and has prepared them for more immersive training to come.

We have officially activated Regional Area Coordinating Groups (ACGs) as a vital component of our bargaining strategy. Regional meetings are underway, providing a platform for identified leaders within their respective regions to contribute input and support to the bargaining process. ACGs’ Chairs and Vice-Chairs joined the Bargaining Team during a lunchtime zoom to discuss the many ways that ACGs will support the team in each phase of the bargaining cycle and increase communication to the membership.

We know that equipping ourselves with this knowledge and connecting with members will enable us to ensure an inclusive and empowering negotiation process. The goal is to enable us to challenge the employer more effectively and to ensure that our Collective Agreement – which is set to expire on December 31, 2024 – is reflective of the needs of our entire OPS Unified membership.

We urge you to get involved with your regional ACG and to actively participate in the upcoming Demand Set Surveys which will be rolled out in two phases. The first phase, created by your ACG, will aim to collect crucial information that will influence the content of the upcoming Demand Set Survey.

To get in touch with your regional ACG please email kchion@opseu.org. Sign up in the member portal to keep getting updates about OPS Unified bargaining: https://members.opseu.org/

This is just the beginning

We will keep communicating with members to keep you informed on the bargaining process and timeline. We encourage you to find ways to get involved in the process. We need as many members as possible to get involved as we gear up for bargaining so we can ensure all our members’ voices are heard! We win – in fact the only way we win – is when we work together!

We’ll keep answering questions and providing updates as they come up. In the meantime, you can review our Frequently Asked Questions page.