OPSEU disappointed with ONAs misleading and divisive memo


An open letter to members in the Hospital Professionals Division at OPSEU

Some of you may have seen the Hospital Central Arbitration update circulated to members of the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) on July 25, 2016.  Click here to see letter

OPSEU is disappointed with both the sub-text and the inaccuracies propagated through ONA’s memo.

Shortly after the news broke that OPSEU Hospital Professionals had reached a three-year negotiated settlement, the arbitration board had asked ONA and the Ontario Hospital Association to present submissions about its relevance to their dispute.

ONA says it presented the board with evidence “showing that OPSEU has traditionally negotiated lower increases than ONA in respect of wages, benefits and premiums.” ONA goes on to say it “contended that the increases in years two and three were low, even for that group of employees, and were definitely low for our dispute.”

It is insulting for ONA to suggest it bargains better than OPSEU.  OPSEU has a long history of being a leader in the hospital professionals division and has been a model for ONA’s group of allied health professionals.

OPSEU is always striving to do what’s best for its members – and we do that well.  But we don’t do it through negotiations alone.   OPSEU goes a step further by driving policy change and fighting the austerity agenda of our government – especially when it comes to dwindling health care funding.  

And we do not sell out our members for wage increases. 

ONA clearly needs to be reminded that OPSEU negotiated an enhanced severance package in 2006-2009 that became the model for ONA’s enhanced severance package.  However, ONA later sold out that package in favour of a lump sum wage increase.  OPSEU has never given up that severance package in its negotiations and would never consider trading in such an important benefit for another.

OPSEU has also traditionally negotiated better percentage in lieu for vacation and benefits of part-time staff, than has ONA.

In the latest round of bargaining, OPSEU’s hospital professionals negotiated a three-year deal that provides its members with improved wages, vacation entitlements and shift premiums.  It also provides the added stability that goes along with a central contract that is settled at the bargaining table, instead of through arbitration.

OPSEU’s focus was, and has always been, to get a fair deal for our members while at the same time protecting jobs and the services we offer to our patients.

It is unfortunate that ONA’s rhetoric is so divisive, at a time where we should all be uniting to improve health care funding in our province.  Arguing about who’s better at the bargaining table, doesn’t help anyone. 

Sara Labelle
Hospital Professionals Division
Division/Sector Executive, Chair