After months of planning, and an intense month of talks, OPSEU/SEFPO’s OPS Unified bargaining team has reached a tentative deal with the province.
More details of the three-year deal will be released prior to a ratification vote in the New Year, however a tentative memorandum of settlement has been signed, including a one per cent wage increase in each of the next three years, among other contract improvements.
“It’s been a tough year for bargaining, but OPSEU/SEFPO’s OPS Unified members can be proud knowing their team has pulled off a win for them,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “We hope the good news brings some peace of mind this holiday season for OPS Unified members – they absolutely deserve it, and so much more.”
In light of the constraints imposed provincially by Bill 124 and its unconstitutional wage cap, the team did manage to achieve the maximum allowable one per cent wage increase, along with wage reopener language that will allow wage talks to reopen immediately once Bill 124 is repealed or overturned.
“OPS Unified members have been instrumental in keeping Ontario running during this pandemic, and long before it too,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “You deserve the utmost respect and contract language that reflects it. This deal is a big win in these tough times, and it will set OPS Unified members on solid footing to continue making gains for many years to come.”
Along with the annual one per cent wage increase, the deal also includes increases to paramedical benefits and a healthcare spending account. Other non-monetary improvements include seniority calculations for fixed-term employees, and job security language.
The parties also agreed on new language that will allow the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to perform its review of the OPS Unified Collective Agreement under an equity lens, to help identify systemic barriers and changes needed within the agreement.
“We’re proud of the hard-fought gains we’ve achieved this round,” said OPS Unified bargaining team chair, Coleen Houlder. “But we wouldn’t have achieved this without the hard work and dedication of OPS Unified members, who put forth their demands and gave the team the mandate and direction to go forward, and succeed. I’m proud of the team and all of the hard work and sacrifices they made to get this deal done.”
A ratification vote will take place in the New Year. OPSEU/SEFPO encourages all OPS Unified members to stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.