OPSEU/SEFPO welcomes nearly 100 new members at Strides Toronto

Nearly 100 new child, youth, and family mental health and autism workers will be joining OPSEU/SEFPO after the merger of two mental health agencies in the east end of Toronto. 

“On behalf of the entire Executive Board, I’d like to offer a warm welcome to our newest members at Strides Toronto,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “It’s impossible to overstate the value of the work they do at Strides, and I can promise that they’ll find all the support they need to demand the healthy and safe working conditions they require. 

“These workers are swimming with the tide – they join thousands of other front-line public sector workers who’ve become OPSEU/SEFPO members recently,” said Thomas. “We’re growing because workers know that when OPSEU/SEFPO members speak, employers and the government listen.  We get results.” 

Strides Toronto is a new child and family mental health agency formed after the merger of Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre and East Metro Youth Services. The workers at Aisling are members of OPSEU/SEFPO while the workers at East Metro were formerly represented by the United Food & Commercial Workers Union. 

When health care workplaces with more than one union merge, the Public Service Labour Relations Transition Act (PSLRTA) dictates that the workers vote for a single union to represent them. The 275 workers at Strides Toronto voted on Oct. 14 and 15, and a wide majority of the ballots cast were for OPSEU. 

“I’d like to congratulate the East Metro workers and their union, UFCW, for the excellent job they did at the bargaining table and in the workplace,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “It’s never easy to move from one union to another. But I’d like to assure all of the former UFCW members that they’ve got a welcome and supportive home in OPSEU/SEFPO. 

“We’ve got the strength of decades of experience in public services and in mental health and autism care. That strength is now their strength. And every OPSEU/SEFPO member is now stronger because they’ve joined us.”