The past year was definitely a tough one, for workers and their families – and for bargaining too. But despite the one per cent wage limit imposed by Bill 124, our union and its members have continued to persevere and achieve great things – including the OPS Unified tentative deal reached in December.
This tentative contract is a good deal in these difficult times; it comes with plenty of gains – in wages, benefits and other contract language improvements. It’s a deal we can all be proud of. Your bargaining team has achieved the maximum wage increase allowed by law – that’s a one per cent wage increase in each of the next three years.
Obviously, our union does not support Bill 124 and its unconstitutional wage cap. That’s exactly why we filed a charter challenge and will continue to fight Bill 124. It’s also why your OPS Unified bargaining team successfully negotiated a wage reopener clause in this tentative deal – so that when Bill 124 is repealed, amended or overturned by the courts, the parties will reconvene within 60 days to restart negotiations on wages and benefits, without the constraints of Bill 124.
Under these circumstances, this deal is a win-win. It guarantees three years of stability, during one of the most challenging times in modern history, all while ensuring that wage talks can reopen. It’s a good deal that OPS Unified members can continue to build on for many years to come.
That’s why I’m proud to support the bargaining team, and their unanimous endorsement of this tentative deal – because it’s a good deal, and that’s good news.
Some of you might have received a communication to the contrary. I can assure you that the opinions of this one individual do not reflect or represent the position endorsed by myself, the bargaining team or the central union.
Our members must always come first, which is why I support this deal. Voting no would come with risks that just aren’t worth it – like the risk of starting over and losing what has been gained during these talks, not to mention the possibility of a strike down the road. Bill 124 prevents us from achieving any more than a one per cent wage increase. We don’t agree with it and we’ll fight it, but for now, it’s the law.
This is your future, and you get to decide what it will look like. I encourage all OPS Unified members to join the province-wide Tele Town Halls scheduled for next week. These will be an opportunity to learn more about the tentative contract and ask questions, so that you can go into the ratification vote fully informed.
Here are the details for the OPS Unified Tele Town Halls (there will be four opportunities to join and all OPS Unified members are welcome):
- Monday, January 17th from 12-1:30 p.m. and 7-8:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, January 18th from 12-1:30 p.m. and 7-8:30 p.m.
Please stay tuned for more details. Until then, stay safe and we will look forward to speaking with you next week.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas