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OPSEU’s Newest Members 2013


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OPSEU welcomes newest long term care members at Mohawk Council of Akwesasne

December 19, 2013 On Wednesday, December 18, 2013, a historic agreement was entered into between the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.


In a special ceremony held on Akwesasne lands, Chief Brian David and OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas have signed a voluntary recognition agreement which allows OPSEU to represent the 65 workers at Tsiionkwanonhso:te, a long-term care facility on Cornwall Island. Earlier this year, these workers voted 85 per cent in favour of being represented by OPSEU.

undefinedThomas said that this agreement creates a unique labour "code" that recognizes the needs and interests of a First Nation while at the same time offering unionized employees the same kinds of protections that are afforded under the Ontario Labour Relations Act or Canada Labour Code.

"These workers wanted a voice, equality and fairness in their workplace, while also having the ability to work as partners with the employer to make improvements," Thomas said. "The parties demonstrated creativity and flexibility in arriving at this agreement allowing labour relations and the protection of employees' rights to move forward quickly."

OPSEU looks forward to a productive relationship with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

OPSEU welcomes new members at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital


December 5,  2013 OPSEU is pleased to announce, as the result of a program transfer vote, that 390 members in two different bargaining units have voted for OPSEU as their official bargaining representative at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital.

The 260 members of the STEGH Service Unit (formerly Unifor members) and 117 non-union employees of the Office and Clerical Unit join the 10 OPSEU Service Unit members and three OPSEU Office and Clerical members who transferred from St. Joseph's Health Care in London.

Barb DeRoche, chair of OPSEU's Hospital Support Division, and an integral part of the Organizing campaign, said that once again Health Care workers in this province recognized that OPSEU is the public-sector health care union they need and deserve.

"It was my absolute pleasure to have had an opportunity to meet the amazing workers of St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital during this campaign," DeRoche said. "Their dedication and commitment to their jobs make me proud to welcome them to the Hospital Support sector of OPSEU. They contribute to the overall success of this hospital by providing the best patient care possible. As a sector we are committed to achieving the best contracts, representation and service for our members. I look forward to working with all of them in the future. Welcome to the OPSEU family."

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas also thanks St Joseph's Health Care Local President Kim McDowell and STEGH Local President Julia Fazakas-Lewis for all of their help during this vote. "Kim and Julia were an invaluable resource to us, and helped us overcome some fairly significant odds," Thomas said. "It shows that OPSEU is the union for changing times."

OPSEU welcomes our new members at Windsor Regional Hospital

November 22, 2013 OPSEU is proud to welcome our newest Allied Health Professionals at Windsor Regional Hospital. As a result of a transfer of services and a union representation vote between OPSEU and Unifor, OPSEU now represents all 650 Hospital Professionals at the WRH sites.

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Sara Labelle, Chair of OPSEU's Hospital Professionals Division, thanks our current OPSEU members and welcomes the new members to our union.

"We had an overwhelming show of support from our current members, both during the campaign and at the vote, reaffirming that OPSEU is THE choice for Allied Health Professionals in Ontario," Labelle said. "Our members know all the benefits, experience and support we provide to them. We welcome our new members in Windsor, and look forward to working together to make our Division stronger than ever."

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, is pleased with the vote results. "More and more health care professionals are choosing OPSEU because they know we set the standard for Hospital Professionals in the province," Thomas said. "Our union is unrivalled for Allied Health Professionals because we have expertise in bargaining, research, and protecting our members when changes occur in the workplace. We are the union of choice for health care in Ontario."

OPSEU proud to welcome Algoma Family Services

November 18, 2013  OPSEU is proud to welcome the 107 staff of Algoma Family Services, a provider of specialized child and youth mental health services for community members in the Algoma District. On November 14, staff voted 73 per cent in favour of joining OPSEU.

Jeff Arbus, Region 6 Vice-President, played a key role in organizing these workers and warmly welcomes them to OPSEU's Child Treatment Sector. "The staff at AFS showed exceptional consideration and respect for each other throughout this process. I am so excited to have them join our northern family. I know they will benefit from the networking and advocating that we will continue to do on behalf of children and families impacted by mental health issues."

East Algoma counselling services workers choose OPSEU


November 5, 2013  OPSEU is proud to welcome our newest members at the Counselling Centre for East Algoma in Elliot Lake. In a vote held Nov. 4, 2013, 70 per cent of the staff voted in favour of having OPSEU represent them.

The CCEA provides counselling services to couples, individuals, and groups experiencing a wide range of personal and social issues in the Elliot Lake, Blind River, and North Shore communities. These members are an excellent addition to Region 6 and the Broader Public Sector.

Staff at New Beginnings Children and Youth Services join OPSEU.


October 30, 2013 OPSEU welcomes the 65 staff of New Beginnings, a Windsor facility providing young people rehabilitation programs of residential services, counselling, support, supervision and aftercare. On October 29, staff there voted to have OPSEU represent them.

Jonathan Guider, Chair of OPSEU's BPS Corrections sector, said that having the employees unionized with OPSEU is the best way for those employees to have a collective voice. "The employees at New Beginnings are a group of well-trained professionals who will benefit from the networking and advocating that has always been an important part of our Sector," Guider said. "Lobbying and creating bargaining strategies are very effective in raising standards and promoting fairness."

These members will be a great addition for OPSEU, BPS Corrections and the Community Services Divisional Council.

Exeter Hospital Professionals Choose OPSEU


October 11, 2013 OPSEU welcomes our newest Allied Health members from South Huron Hospital Association. With a 100 per cent voter turnout, 89 per cent of the employees voted in favor of having OPSEU as their bargaining representative.

Sara Labelle, chair of OPSEU's Hospital Professionals Division, is proud to represent these new members. "More and more Allied Health Professionals are choosing OPSEU as their union because they know we will protect their interests and work hard to make improvements in their working lives. As a public sector union, we have a long, winning track record with Hospital Professionals. That's why they are the fastest-growing sector in our union."

Last remaining non-union CAS workers choose OPSEU


September 27, 2013 OPSEU is proud to welcome our newest members at Dufferin County Child and Family Services. In a vote held September 26, 2013 the majority of these workers chose OPSEU to represent them as their agency faces a merger in the near future. These 70 new members were the last non-union Children's Aid Society Sector workers in Ontario, and know that OPSEU and its CAS Sector will provide the guidance, representation and protections they will need moving forward.

The members of this all-employee bargaining unit provide child protection, children's mental health and developmental support services in this integrated children's service agency.

OPSEU welcomes our newest members in Long Term Care

September 15, 2013 OPSEU is proud to welcome our second group of workers to the long-term care sector following a vote on August 29, 2013 at Royalcliffe Chartwell Retirement Residence in London, Ontario. With a resounding and overwhelming 96 per cent in favour of unionizing, these members made it loud and clear that OPSEU is their union of choice. These new members are dedicated to providing the highest possible level of care to the seniors that they work with through housekeeping, dietary services, or personal support care.

Waterside Retirement Community joins OPSEU


September 5, 2013 OPSEU gives a very warm welcome to our newest members at Waterside Retirement Community in Carleton Place, Ontario. The 39 members of this "all-employee" bargaining unit include personal support staff, dietary preparation and serving staff, housekeeping and concierge. Kudos to these new members for staying strong despite facing aggressive tactics from the employer in the week leading up to the vote!

UGPA merges with OPSEU

July 19, 2013 In an agreement signed July 9, 2013, the University of Guelph Police Association has merged with OPSEU. OPSEU now assumes all bargaining rights for the former Association, and the former UGPA Executive become OPSEU stewards. We are pleased to welcome this new group, and look forward to working with them at the University of Guelph.

OPSEU wins another group at Red Cross Care Partners

July 15, 2013 OPSEU is proud to welcome our second group of members from Red Cross Care Partners (RCCP) in Norfolk County. On July 10, these 45 employees voted for OPSEU to represent them on the heels of the recent successful RCCP vote in Niagara.

These formerly non-union visiting community nursing staff will be a welcome addition to our Community Health Care Professionals Sector.

OPSEU finally welcomes new members at Red Cross Care Partners

June 28, 2013 OPSEU is very pleased to welcome our newest 128 members at Red Cross Care Partners in Niagara. After 15 months and three separate votes, these community care nurses, office administration workers and team assistants are finally able to call OPSEU their union.

These votes took place after the merger of Red Cross and Care Partners. These employees provide assistance to individuals in the community to maintain their independence despite illness, injury, disability or age. They wanted a union to best assist them with their working issues, and picked OPSEU as the best fit.

Despite months of dealing with employer tactics to either stop or delay the vote, and the employer attempting everything possible to stop employees from voting for OPSEU, we were finally successful in certifying this group on June 26.

OPSEU thanks these members for their determination, and is proud to have stood by them during this long process.

OPSEU welcomes new members at Carleton University Security


May 31, 2013 OPSEU is pleased to announce that in a vote held May 29, the special constables at the Carleton Department of University Safety voted 97 per cent in favour of joining OPSEU.

This new bargaining unit of Special Constables, Campus Safety Officers, Auxiliary Campus Safety Officers, Dispatchers and Student Safety Patrol provide safety patrol services for the campus, ensuring the well-being of thousands of students and staff.

Christopher Terrace votes OPSEU

May 8, 2013 In vote held May 2, employees at Chartwell Christopher Terrace Retirement Residence voted overwhelmingly (95 per cent) to join OPSEU. The members of this "all-employee" bargaining unit of Nursing/Attendant Care, Dietary, Housekeeping and Administrative staff work in Burlington. This new group of OPSEU members, committed to providing a warm and caring environment for senior citizens, will be welcome in the Long Term Care Sector of the Union.

OPSEU welcomes IT staff at Peel

May 1, 2013 OPSEU is pleased to welcome its 104 newest members at the Peel District School Board. In a vote held April 26, IT staff at the Board voted overwhelmingly for OPSEU as their union.

These members are a solid addition to OPSEU's Education Sector.

Golden Years chooses OPSEU

April 26, 2013 OPSEU is pleased to welcome its newest members from Golden Years Nursing Home (Cambridge) Inc.  In a vote held April 25, 2013 the majority of employees voted in favour of being represented by OPSEU. Golden Years is a nursing home with 88 beds and a retirement home with 35 residents. Staff provide nursing, attendant care, dietary, housekeeping and maintenance to the seniors at this facility.

These 131 new members are a strong addition to OPSEU's Long Term Care Sector.

OPSEU proud to welcome MSSA

April 25, 2013 OPSEU is pleased to announce that the Media Support Specialists Association, an independent union of IT specialists at the Peel District School Board, has officially merged with OPSEU.

Workers at the former Association include Graphics Designers, Media Support Specialists and Technology Support Specialists.

OPSEU President Smokey Thomas says this merger shows why OPSEU is Ontario's fastest-growing union. "This Association wanted to increase its strength and bargaining power, and unanimously chose to come to OPSEU," Thomas said.

 "We are very happy to welcome these new members."


OPSEU welcomes newest members at CMHA-WWD Branch

April 23, 2013 OPSEU is pleased to welcome our newest members at Canadian Mental Health Association – Waterloo Wellington Dufferin Branch. In a merger representation vote held April 23 between OPSEU and CAW, the majority of the workers chose OPSEU.

This vote came as a result of a merger between OPSEU-represented Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services and the Canadian Mental Health Association – Grand River Branch. Formerly non-union employees were also involved in the vote.

Ruth Linnen, Local 291 President at the former Trellis unit, is pleased with the outcome of the vote. “OPSEU is primarily a public service union, and a much better fit for CMHA employees. I thank OPSEU President Smokey Thomas, and Executive Board members Mike Grimaldi, Deb Tungatt and Eddy Almeida for all their support and assistance during this process.”

The new OPSEU bargaining unit has nearly 300 members, and is a strong addition to OPSEU’s Mental Health Division.

CMHA – Waterloo Wellington Dufferin Branch Representation Vote

April 22-23, 2013 On April 22 and 23, There will be a union representation vote for all employees on CMHA WWD Branch. OPSEU will be holding information meetings and events up to the vote days so that you have all the information you need for this very important vote.

Please contact Connie Huziak at 416-788-9245 or Riley Dawe at 416-577-4630 if you have any questions about the upcoming vote.

Independent Living Halton chooses OPSEU

April 5, 2013  OPSEU welcomes our newest members from Independent Living Halton in Milton. In a vote held April 3, employees voted 92 per cent in favour of joining OPSEU. Employees provide personal support care to adults with physical disabilities at Deborah's Home as well as provide homecare to the wider community of Halton Region.

OPSEU welcomes newest Municipal Sector members

OPSEU welcomes newest Municipal Sector members

March 27, 2013  In a vote held March 26, employees of Peel Region Paramedic Services of the Regional Municipality of Peel voted 79 per cent in favour of joining OPSEU. These workers, known as Vehicle Equipment Preparedness Assistants, specialize in the cleaning and replenishing of ambulances for emergency use. Dave Wakely, President of Local 277, played a key role during the organizing drive and warmly welcomes them to the OPSEU family. "VEPAs work alongside my members and came to OPSEU because they saw the difference that having a unified voice makes in your working life."


Staff at Season Retirement Communities vote OPSEU

March 6, 2013 OPSEU welcomes our newest members in Region 2 with the addition of staff at Seasons Retirement Communities in Owen Sound. In a vote held February 27, employees voted 85 per cent in favour of being represented by OPSEU.

Employees at Seasons provide housekeeping, dietary, attendant and nursing services to the approximately 120 residents at the facility.

These newest members will be a proud addition to OPSEU’s Long Term Care sector.

OPSEU welcomes new members in Region 1

March 06, 2013 OPSEU is pleased to announce that paramedical staff at London Health Sciences Centre have voted to join OPSEU.

In a representation vote held on Monday, February 4, 2013, approximately 60 Pharmacy Technicians, Medication System Technicians, Occupational Therapy assistants and Physiotherapy Assistants voted for OPSEU as their union.

Sandi Blancher, president of Local 106 and vice-chair OPSEU’s Hospital Professionals Division, is very happy with the outcome of the vote. “These full-time paramedical staff are a welcome addition to Local 106 and our Hospital Professionals Division, and join our other five bargaining units at London Health Sciences Centre.”