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OPSEU members at Central West reach tentative agreement

One week before they could have taken strike action, more than 300 members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) at Central West Specialized Developmental Services (CWSDS) have reached a tentative collective agreement.

The members of OPSEU Local 249 had been working without a contract since March 2016. At the heart of the dispute was a wage offer from management amounting to a 10-cent-an-hour increase. If ratified, the tentative collective agreement will see workers’ wages increase by 70 cents an hour before the two-year deal expires on March 31, 2018.

“Our members were genuinely insulted when management came to the table offering a dime more an hour,” said Local 249 vice-president Terry Kirkelos, who is also a member of the union bargaining team. “To see that increased to 70 cents is a real victory.”

Workers also saw some improvements to their benefits package, including a three-cent increase in their travel allowance, from 39 cents a kilometre to 42 cents.

A ratification vote is scheduled for August 31. The union bargaining team has unanimously recommended that members accept the deal.

“Solidarity was central to Local 249’s ability to reach a tentative agreement,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The members were united behind their bargaining team, and management got the message loud and clear. That’s why an agreement was reached before the September 6 strike deadline.

“Congratulations to the bargaining team for their hard work and to all the members for standing up for themselves,” he said.

For more information: Terry Kirkelos, 905-520-4948