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Ontario Public Service

OPS union leaders attend union-building conference

Group picture of OPS MERC leaders at OPS MERCs conference
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Sixty of OPSEU’s elected leaders representing members in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) talked about strategies this week on how to build the strength of the union in their workplaces. They gathered in Toronto at the first ever OPS MERC Conference. OPSEU’s CERC team organized the event and leaders from every MERC team in the OPS Unified bargaining unit attended.

President Warren (Smokey) Thomas congratulated the OPS Unified union leaders on holding their first OPS MERC Conference.

“It’s a challenging time in the OPS with the current provincial government. Now, more than ever, we need to build the union everywhere in the OPS. The work you did this week is very important, and I support you 100 per cent.”

The OPS Unified representatives spent two days making concrete plans to strengthen ties with local leaders in their ministries, reach out to members and mobilize them around workplace issues, and communicate to the public about the value of the public services OPS member provide.

CERC Chair Neil Martin considered the inaugural MERC Conference to be a great success.

“I’m really happy with the work everyone did over the past couple of days. There’s a lot of experience and skill on our MERC teams. I’m glad we had the opportunity to strategize together about how we’re going to deal with the challenges we’re facing and engage our members in that struggle as well.”

First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida was also supportive of the OPS leaders’ efforts.

“As an OPS member and former MERC chair of Corrections, I know how important it is for our members to have strong union leaders at the table with our employers. I’m glad the OPS Unified teams are getting together to strategize. We’re always stronger together.”

Warren (Smokey) Thomas addresses attendees at the OPS MERC Conference on September 26, 2019

What’s a CERC? What’s a MERC?

Most OPS ministries have a MERC team (Ministry Employee Relations Committee). OPSEU MERC members meet with employer representatives in their ministry to resolve workplace issues. OPSEU members on these teams are elected by OPS member delegates from their respective ministries every two years at the OPS Divisional Meeting. Click here for a list of OPSEU MERC teams.

The three-person CERC team (Central Employee Relations Committee) is elected by the MERC chairs to represent the membership on OPS-wide issues with the employer. The CERC team also supports MERC teams and spearheads campaigns and member mobilization efforts across the OPS. Click here for more information about the CERC team.