Empire Crossing Retirement Community joins forces with OPSEU
PORT HOPE – Long Term Care employees at Empire Crossing Retirement Community voted to make the Ontario Public Service Employees Union their bargaining representative on Dec. 2.
The results of the vote showed more than 75 per cent of employees were in favor of joining OPSEU as their union for changing times. OPSEU will now be certified to represent Long Term Care workers at Empire Crossing in Port Hope, Ontario.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU, extended a warm welcome on behalf of the Executive board to the newest members. “We pledge the union’s full support in giving them a powerful voice for fair wages and benefits, workplace health and safety, and job security. I know they will continue to do a wonderful job to improve the lives of seniors in Ontario,” Thomas said.
Empire Crossing Retirement community offers customized health care and recreational programs to seniors living on residence.
“OPSEU’s long term care sector is pleased to welcome our new members in Port Hope. We are looking forward to working with them to better serve our residents and ensure the highest quality of care,” said Joan Corradetti, OPSEU Long Term Care Executive Chair.
OPSEU represents approximately 3,500 Long Term Care sector workers across Ontario.
OPSEU welcomes Mackenzie Health diagnostic imaging professionals
YORK REGION – Diagnostic imaging employees at Mackenzie Health in York Region voted overwhelmingly to make OPSEU their bargaining representative on Nov. 24. The results of the vote showed 76 per cent of employees voting in favor of joining OPSEU as their union for changing times.
OPSEU will now be certified to represent all 95 diagnostic imaging professionals that work at Mackenzie Health in the Municipality of York.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, was pleased to hear of the results of the vote and extended a warm welcome on behalf of the Executive Board to the newest members. “As Ontario's union of choice for healthcare professionals we will provide all available resources to effectively represent our newest members,” Thomas said.
Sara Labelle, chair of OPSEU’s Hospital Professionals Division said, “OPSEU's experience and track record in representing hospital professionals will benefit the medical radiation technologists at Mackenzie Health as they move forward in improving their working conditions and bargaining a first collective agreement. They are a welcome addition to OPSEU's Hospital Professionals Division.”
Mackenzie Health is a regional healthcare provider serving a population of more than a half million people across York Region. It has created a world-class health experience by delivering quality, compassionate and timely patient-centered care.
OPSEU represents approximately 23,000 hospital professionals across Ontario.
OLGC security officers vote unanimously to join OPSEU
Security officers working for the Corporate Security Services of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission in Sault Ste. Marie have voted unanimously to join OPSEU.
In a vote Nov. 16 that attracted a 100 per cent turnout of eligible members, the security officers elected to join the union following an organizing drive that started earlier this year.
“That we enjoyed a full turnout of members, and that they voted unanimously in favour of joining OPSEU, tells me we continue to be the union of choice for changing times in Ontario,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
Reconnect Mental Health Services vote to join OPSEU
Workers from Reconnect Mental Health Services in Toronto voted to become the latest members to have the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) represent them. OPSEU now represents more mental health workers than any other union in Ontario.
The new members provide a diverse range of vital community-based mental health services. The workers specialize in areas that include addiction counseling, crisis intervention and housing support. Reconnect services clients within the Greater Toronto area and southern Ontario.
Reconnect plays a major role in the area of community mental health and addictions by providing safe, effective and personalized services. The organization drives innovation to improve services and creates conditions that deliver the highest standard of care.
The workers joining OPSEU include Case Managers, Nurse Case Managers, Mental health workers, Short-term crisis bed workers and Older-addictions Case Managers.
Ed Arvelin, chair of OPSEU's Mental Health Division, said the new members enhance OPSEU’s reputation as the best union for mental health workers. “Members of Reconnect join those of five other mental health agencies that have made OPSEU their union of choice this past year,” Mr. Arvelin said.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas welcomed the new members and pledged to champion the trust they had placed in the union. “We truly know and understand the issues that are of particular concern to mental health workers. OPSEU has the expertise and the experience.”
Reconnect ensures public service resources and budgets are used appropriately and effectively to achieve the best outcomes for individuals and the community.
Fred Victor chooses OPSEU
On October 15, 2015, OPSEU became the sole bargaining agent for the 240 frontline staff at two landmark frontline social services agencies in Toronto: the former Community Resource Connections of Toronto, represented by the Service Employees International Union; and Fred Victor, represented by OPSEU.
On April 1, 2015, the two organizations had officially merged to become Fred Victor. The Ontario Labour Relations Board conducted a merger vote to allow the workers to choose which union would represent them at Fred Victor.
Ken Mitchell, President of OPSEU Local 509, described the result as a huge step towards securing a more promising future for the workers at Fred Victor. “By voting to join OPSEU, they have given themselves a voice that will democratically respond to the ongoing transformations in the mental health and frontline social services sector. OPSEU will provide the resources and tools they need to unite across the agency – and across the table from their employer.”
In these changing times of increasing pressures on service providers, government austerity agendas and the threat of privatization, the new Local 509 members add to the growing number of Ontario frontline social service workers who have placed their confidence in the experienced and effective hands of OPSEU to protect their best interests and safeguard the services they offer their clients.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, said these workers’ instinct to put their trust in OPSEU was well founded. “I extend a warm welcome to our new members at Fred Victor and pledge the union’s full support in helping them continue to improve the lives of some of our province’s most vulnerable residents.”
St. Leonard’s Place, Peel finds its place in OPSEU
On October 8, 2015, the workers at St. Leonard’s Place, Peel voted 95 per cent in favour of joining OPSEU.
The comprehensive treatment team at St. Leonard’s provides community-based residential support for men over 16 years of age who have significant mental health and substance abuse problems, and involvement with the justice system. They help the residents confided to their care rebuild their lives and participate fully in society.
Ed Arvelin, Chair of OPSEU’s Mental Health Division, was delighted by the result of the vote: “More and more mental health professionals are choosing OPSEU, because they realize it’s the best union for changing times. St. Leonard’s will make a wonderful addition to our many members in the community mental health care sector.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, joined with Ed in acclaiming the decisive vote. “The caring and compassionate staff at St. Leonard’s Place, Peel take pride in creating a home for their residents within their community. I couldn’t be happier that these dedicated workers have chosen to make their home within the OPSEU community.
“I thank them for their moving vote of confidence and wish them a very enthusiastic welcome to OPSEU.”
Regent Park Community Health Centre the latest to join OPSEU
Regent Park Community Centre employees have chosen OPSEU as their bargaining agent. In a vote held on September 29, 2015, 75 per cent voted in favour of OPSEU as their union for changing times. The 123 staff at this non-profit, community-based organization are dedicated to improving the health of Regent Park area residents and the community as a whole by providing high-quality, integrated primary health care services, health promotion services and community capacity building.
OPSEU Community Health Care Professionals Sector Chair Lucy Morton was extremely pleased by the results of the vote, which she feels reflect the efforts of organizers. “Regent Park Community Health Centre includes a diverse range of workers who work out of four locations in downtown Toronto. They include office and administrative assistants, dieticians, registered nurses, social workers, early childhood educators, nurse practitioners, dental assistants and chiropodists. They now join the thousands of members who belong to OPSEU’s Community Health Care Professionals sector.”
The President of OPSEU, Warren (Smokey) Thomas, was also encouraged by the outcome. “I applaud the workers at Regent Park Community Centre, who have put their confidence in OPSEU. Their solid support speaks to OPSEU’s competence, experience and reputation as the bargaining agent best able to negotiate excellent contracts for its members. I wish them a very warm welcome to the OPSEU family.”
Welcome, Addiction & Mental Health Services–Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington!
On September 17, 2015, Addiction & Mental Health Services–Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington became the latest members of the OPSEU family – or at least some of them did.
On April 1, the South East Local Health Integration Network (SE LHIN) ordered the amalgamation of the Lennox & Addington Addiction and Community Mental Health Services, represented by Local 1 of the Service Employees International Union (SIEU), and Frontenac Community Mental Health & Addiction Services, represented by OPSEU Local 489, to form Addiction & Mental Health Services–Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (AMHS-KFLA).
The Ontario Labour Relations Board conducted a merger vote to allow the workers to choose which union would represent them at the new agency. With the vote overwhelming favouring OPSEU, the union now represents all 207 workers at AMHS‑KFLA.
Tom Pinero, President of OPSEU Local 489, hailed the result as a huge step towards securing a more promising future for the workers OPSEU represents. “By voting to join OPSEU, they’ve given themselves a powerful voice for fair wages and benefits, workplace health and safety, and job security.”
The new Local 489 members add to the growing number of Ontario health care workers who are putting their confidence in the experienced and effective hands of OPSEU to protect their best interests – and the services they offer their clients – in these changing times of increasing pressures on service providers, the threat of privatization, and government austerity agendas.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, said the AMHS-KFLA workers’ instinct to put their trust in OPSEU was well‑founded. “OPSEU has a proven track record when it comes to negotiating excellent collective agreements for our members in hundreds of provincial agencies, as well as protecting the valuable services that Ontarians need and rely on.
“I extend a warm welcome to our new members and pledge the union’s full support in helping them continue to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents.”
OPSEU welcomes Compass Group Canada cleaners at Hamilton Health Sciences
On August 11, 2015, contracted-out cleaners working at the Chedoke and McMaster sites of Hamilton Health Sciences voted 99 per cent in favour of becoming members of OPSEU.
When the hospital switched contractor providers on August 1, these workers found themselves in a vulnerable situation. Under Ontario law, contracted-out building services workers lose their membership in a union. Furthermore, they must reapply for their jobs every time the contractor changes.
This group of approximately 100 cleaners faced an additional challenge when they sought to remain with OPSEU. The new contractor argued that they should automatically become part of the Labourers’ International Union of America (LIUNA). Fortunately, Local 281President Bob Surette and Vice-President Morgan Rosser’s hard work and determination to stay with OPSEU paid off. They and their members successfully resisted pressure from the new employer and LIUNA to leave OPSEU OPSEU – the union they love and trust.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas was frank in his assessment of the situation. “This is just another glaring example of why fundamental labour law reform is long overdue in Ontario. New contractors must be required to take on existing workers with their collective agreement and union affiliation intact. Why should workers have to reapply for jobs they’ve been doing for years? The law is fixed to give unscrupulous employers an opportunity to goad workers into renouncing hard‑fought gains.
“It’s high time the Ontario Labour Relations Act was changed to force contractors to compete on the basis of the highest-quality services they offer – not on the worst possible working conditions they impose on hardworking employees.”
Once again, hospital and family health workers choose OPSEU
In a vote held on September 2, office and clerical workers at the South Huron Hospital Association and South Huron Medical Centre in Exeter voted 92 per cent in favour of becoming members of OPSEU. They join the allied health professionals at South Huron Hospital, who are already represented by OPSEU Local 106.
Barb DeRoche, Chair of OPSEU’s Hospital Support Sector, was confident of the outcome of the vote. "I’m proud to be part of the team that represents our newest members from South Huron Hospital. The office and clerical staff wanted a strong voice with vast experience in representing hospital support staff – and a proven track record of bargaining superior collective agreements. That’s why they chose OPSEU. We welcome them and look forward to working with them."
President Warren (Smokey) Thomas expressed his pleasure upon hearing of OSPEU’s latest members. “I extend a very warm welcome to the office and clerical workers at the South Huron Hospital Association and South Huron Medical Centre,” he said. “At a time when health care services are being squeezed by the austerity agenda of the Liberal government, it’s more critical than ever to have the protection that comes with belonging to Ontario’s strongest advocate for hospital sector workers. Joining OPSEU is a giant leap towards securing a brighter future.”
SickKids lab workers join OPSEU
Medical laboratory staff at SickKids have voted 74 per cent in favour of joining the union.
In a representation vote held on August 18, 2015, over 230 laboratory technologists, technicians and assistants, phlebotomists, test development technologists, resource technologists and senior resource technologists voted for OPSEU as their union of choice.
The laboratory staff had identified a number of areas of concern, including:
- work overload, largely due to unfilled vacancies
- little respect for lab employees and their work
- compensation lower than other lab employees represented by OPSEU
Sara Labelle, Chair of the Hospital Professionals Division, says that these medical laboratory professionals have made a wise choice, citing OPSEU's 46-year history of representation and advocacy on behalf of hospital professionals. “We will serve our newest members from the Hospital for Sick Children well as we continue to move forward together in these uncertain times in health care,” said Labelle.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, expressed his pleasure at the results of the vote. “This is fantastic news for these hardworking employees. They’ve given themselves a strong, united voice. They join 130,000 other OPSEU members who have said yes to more fairness, yes to a say in the workplace, yes to better working conditions, and yes to just compensation.”
OPSEU welcomes Owen Sound Family Health Team
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, announced today that workers with the Owen Sound Family Health Team had chosen to become members of the union. Employees voted 74 per cent in favour of joining OPSEU in a vote held on July 7.
“I am absolutely delighted to welcome these new members into the OPSEU family,” said Thomas. “OPSEU is Ontario’s strongest voice for labour, and we will represent their interests to the very best of our ability.”
The Owen Sound Family Health Team includes a diverse range of approximately 70 workers, including office and clerical staff, cleaning personnel, registered nurses, registered practical nurses, occupational therapists, dieticians, social workers and pharmacists. The team works in close collaboration with physicians in Owen Sound to deliver high-quality health care to community residents.
Lois Boggs, OPSEU organizer noted that the employer had tried to exclude a number of staff. “Fortunately, we’ve mostly resolved this issue with the Labour Relations Board. There are only three exceptions remaining,” she said.
Lucy Morton, Chair of the Community Health Care Professionals Sector, was jubilant. “I’m so excited to welcome these new members from Owen Sound. Once again, community health care workers from Grey Bruce have chosen OPSEU as the only union to represent health care workers. Congratulations to our new members and to all who helped with this highly successful campaign.”
Summer caseworkers at Parkdale Community Legal Services joining OPSEU
On August 5th, 2015 the ballot boxes from the certification vote held on behalf of the summer caseworkers at Parkdale Community Legal Services, (PCLS) were unsealed. The results: 88 per cent had voted in favour of joining OPSEU.
About a month ago, OPSEU made an application on behalf of the summer caseworkers at PCLS (who are also enrolled in the Osgoode Hall Law Program). The employer made a number of legal objections to the certification drive but through a tremendous amount of mobilizing and community outreach, the grassroots effort led by the caseworkers resulted in the Board of Directors at PCLS fully withdrawing their legal challenges.
The 2015 summer caseworker cohort is the first bargaining unit of its kind in the legal aid sector. It will change the nature of the Clinic for the better as well as bolster other organizing efforts across Ontario’s legal sector.
CMHA workers in Leeds-Grenville vote to join OPSEU
Workers with the Canadian Mental Health Association in Leeds-Grenville have unanimously voted to join OPSEU following a representation vote in Brockville last week.
“The trend is clear: more and more community mental health workers in Ontario have signaled that OPSEU is their union of choice,” said Ed Arvelin, chair of the union’s mental health sector. “They see what OPSEU can deliver in respect to stronger contracts and better contract enforcement.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas echoed that view.
“The fact that these members voted 100 per cent in favour of joining OPSEU demonstrates that our union is unquestionably the leader when it comes to protecting community mental health workers, especially at a time when the sector is faces an unprecedented realignment of services. On behalf of our executive board, I wish to welcome our newest OPSEU members.”
OPSEU welcomes our newest Allied Health members at the Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket
July 2, 2015 On June 23, the pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants chose to join OPSEU in a representation vote.
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. They join their colleagues, the Medical Laboratory professionals in Local 387. We have a long, winning track record with Hospital Professionals. That’s why they are the fastest-growing sector in our union.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President, says these members will benefit from union membership. “Our union represents the largest number of health professionals in the province. More and more, hospital professionals know that OPSEU is the union for changing times, and we have the experience that gets results for hospital workers.”
Ontario Legal Aid's GTA Centralized Services
A warm OPSEU welcome to our newest members – all employees of Ontario Legal Aid's GTA Centralized Services.
They voted 94 per cent in favour of OPSEU on May 7, with a high voter turnout.
They work as District Triage Officers, Legal Aid Workers and Support Workers, and are part of the publicly funded Legal Aid Ontario that provides access to justice for low-income individuals and families in Ontario.
OPSEU also represents Legal Aid Ontario employees at the Provincial Office and in several community legal clinics in the GTA.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas expressed his welcome to these legal aid workers. "I'm sure you will find a warm reception among the 130,000 other members in OPSEU who serve the citizens of this province in so many different and important ways."
Carillion Highway Maintenance Workers
OPSEU is proud to welcome our newest members at Carillion Canada Inc. Area Maintenance Contracts, in the County of Simcoe. In a vote held on January 22, 2015, staff there voted in favor of joining OPSEU. On Monday February 23, the Ontario Labour Relations Board declared OPSEU as the bargaining agent for 50 employees.
“Maintaining the major roadways of Simcoe County, including clearing snow and ice, is vital work that can prove life-saving in severe weather,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Commuters and residents depend on these workers to get to work, community events, school or even the hospital. Their work keeps the County of Simcoe moving.”
These new members perform snowplow operations, road operations/maintenance and highway patrol. Carillion is contracted to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, and provides maintenance to 6,000 kilometers of roads across Ontario.
Victorian Order of Nurses, Grey-Bruce
OPSEU is pleased to welcome our 80 newest members at the Victorian Order of Nurses, Grey-Bruce. In a vote held February 19, employees voted 88 per cent in favour of joining OPSEU. OPSEU now represents all workers at the Grey-Bruce location.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said that once again health care workers in Ontario have recognized that OPSEU is the best choice for representation. “These new members perform very difficult work in the community, caring for those who often have no other supports. We will be proud to represent and assist these dedicated members to enhance the work they do.”
Our newest Community Health Care Sector members provide nursing and professional programs and services to all of Bruce and Grey Counties. This area covers from west of Collingwood, south to Dundalk, east to Point Clark, north to Tobermory and all areas in between.
Kingsmere Retirement Suites, Alliston
OPSEU is proud to welcome our newest members at Kingsmere Retirement Suites in Alliston. In a vote held February 10, employees voted 75 per cent in favour of joining OPSEU.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said these members wanted a voice in their workplace and respect for their work and commitment to their residents. “Kingsmere wouldn’t listen to their employees, so the employees called us. Now our newest members are looking forward to positive changes in their workplace that were only possible to achieve with OPSEU’s assistance.”
Our newest members provide health care, personal support, dietary and cleaning services to retirees in a residential setting. They are a welcome addition to OPSEU’s Long Term Care Sector.
Addictions Centre (Hastings Prince Edward Counties) Inc.
OPSEU is pleased to welcome employees of the Addictions Centre (Hastings Prince Edward Counties) Inc. as our newest members in OPSEU’s Mental Health Division.
On Wednesday, January 21, over 95 per cent of the workers voting chose to join OPSEU.
The Addictions Centre is an alcohol/drug and problem gambling treatment service. The organization operates four outpatient sites in the Quinte area, a residential treatment program for adult men in Belleville and have staff who work with clients in other parts of the region (from South Muskoka to Brockville).
Employees at the Addictions Centre wanted to have OPSEU represent them before a transition to a new employer later this year. OPSEU now represents six out of seven of the agencies affected by a realignment of mental health & addiction services in Southeast Ontario.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said this was the right choice at the right time for these new members. “OPSEU will be able to provide expertise and resources throughout the transition process to ensure that members are protected and can continue to provide these much-needed services,” Thomas said. “This could only happen with a union in place, and they chose the best union to get the job done.”