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OPSEU members at Fred Victor ratify new collective agreement

Community Agencies Sector 5

Toronto – Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) at Fred Victor Centre voted to ratify a tentative agreement last night.

Local 509 bargaining team member Marg Robinson was relieved that a strike was avoided, but noted that, “It wasn’t a strong ‘yes’ vote. I hope the employer sees that they have some moving to do in terms of delivering contract improvements for all workers at Fred Victor.”

This is the first collective agreement at Fred Victor since the agency merged with Community Resource Connections of Toronto in August 2015.

Negotiations started in April 2016 and proved to be long and arduous, according to OPSEU staff representative Ron Johnson. “One of the issues the bargaining team fought the hardest on was this employer’s tactics of creating divisions in the workplace.

“But the workers at Fred Victor are ready to move ahead as a unified local,” said Johnson.

Gains won at the bargaining table include a general wage increase for each year of the contract, joint labour management training language, improved harassment and discrimination language, and improved occupational health and safety language.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas commended the bargaining team for their perseverance through the 11 months of negotiations.

“On the final day of conciliation on March 11, talks lasted 22 hours,” said Thomas. “No one can say this team didn’t fight hard for a fair deal. I’m disappointed they were faced with such an obstinate employer, but I congratulate the team and the members for holding on to their principles.”

OPSEU represents approximately 240 workers at Fred Victor Centre. The agency provides mental health, housing, and outreach supports to people experiencing homelessness.

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; Marg Robinson, 647-549-4400