Public Health Ontario Wage Re-opener Update: July 2023

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Dear OPSEU/SEFPO members working at Public Health Ontario,

We wanted to provide you with an update on the wage re-opener negotiations.

On Wednesday, July 12, your bargaining team met with the Employer to continue discussions regarding our Bill 124 Wage Re-Opener. After waiting some three months for the Employer’s response we are very frustrated to report that the Employer has failed to make us a reasonable offer.

“It is disheartening to see that the Employer has not recognized the tireless efforts of our frontline staff with a wage offer that reflects the high inflation and increased cost of living that we are currently facing. Meanwhile, managers at PHO are being rewarded with bonuses and substantial wage increases.” – Casey McGuire, Bargaining Team Chair.

In light of this, we have no choice but to refer the matter back to Arbitrator William Kaplan for a ruling.

Our bargaining team presented a proposal aligned with your demands, aiming to address inflation and acknowledge the pay gap relative to certain hospital positions.

In response, the Employer refused to acknowledge these concerns and rejected the proposed improvements to benefits that were presented by your team.

Instead, they countered with a dismal wage offer. An offer that didn’t even guarantee the payout of retroactive payments until the Bill 124 appeal hearings were concluded, which could take several months, if not over a year.

Moreover, the Employer wanted to limit any retroactive increases to only current employees, thereby excluding the hard-working temporary employees who provided invaluable assistance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Such a proposal was utterly unacceptable.

Your team stayed strong and united and sent the Employer a strong message of our dissatisfaction with the offer presented. At present, we are currently awaiting a hearing date from the Arbitrator, during which both parties will present their submissions. We understand that you have many questions, and we apologize for the delays this process has caused in the current round of bargaining.

To address your concerns and provide more clarity, your bargaining team will be hosting a Zoom Town Hall Meeting in early Fall. This virtual meeting will offer an opportunity for you to join and ask any questions you may have. OPSEU/SEFPO staff will also be present to assist.

We acknowledge the frustration and impatience resulting from the ongoing wait, and we want to assure you that we share in your frustrations. We need to build our collective power together and show this Employer that we demand respect.

Once again, we thank you for your support. Further details regarding the Zoom meeting will be shared later in the summer.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team

Casey McGuire, Local 412 (Ottawa)
Bargaining Team Chair

Farzad Majdinasab, Local 545 (Toronto)

Shah Nawaz, Local 545 (Toronto)

Selfa Pyentam, Local 113 (London)

Cathy Masterson, Local 522 (Toronto)