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PHOLine: Bargaining update and solidarity across Ontario

OPSEU Blood Services and Diagnostics

“It is unfortunate that Public Health Ontario CEO, Peter Donnelly, stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the vital work of OPSEU members on the frontlines of public health. Nobody wants another Walkerton, or another outbreak like SARS. We will see him in arbitration.” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Update on bargaining

The bargaining team met with the employer on August 8, together with a conciliator who is a neutral third party. The conciliator’s role is to help the parties get to a settlement.

We couldn’t reach a deal, as the employer refused to address the demands our members asked the bargaining team to achieve. In turn, we have asked for a ‘no board report’ from the conciliator.

The ‘no board report’ allows us to move to the next step in the bargaining process, which means we will now proceed to interest arbitration.

The union and the employer will submit any outstanding items to a neutral third party arbitrator who will make a final and binding decision and issue an award. Unfortunately this is a lengthy process and we don’t expect to have a hearing date scheduled until 2019. Once a date is confirmed we will provide an update.

Blue Wednesday solidarity across Ontario

Hundreds of members came out to a pizza party in Toronto to support the bargaining team during conciliation on August 8.

Thank you to all of our members who supported the bargaining team at solidarity events across the province on Wednesday, August 8. For the third Wednesday in a row, our members wore OPSEU blue in the workplace. This time we also handed out flyers and showed off our new stickers. We gave the employer a strong message that public health is in our hands!

“Your support and solidarity is keeping the bargaining team strong and focused as we move forward with preparation for arbitration,” said Omid Nouri, chair of the bargaining team. “Thanks for the huge show of support as we started conciliation, and for everything you are doing each and every day to support the team.

Members in Ottawa show solidarity with their bargaining team

Next steps

The bargaining team is currently working hard on your behalf to prepare for arbitration. Further details will be shared once we confirm a hearing date.

Please be on the lookout for an important survey in the coming weeks from your bargaining team. We will need all of our members to help gather information for arbitration.

Stay tuned for further updates from your bargaining team on upcoming events.

In Solidarity,
Your Public Health Ontario Bargaining Team:
Omid Nouri, Local 545 (Toronto) – Bargaining Team Chair
Shah Nawaz, Local 545 (Toronto)
Selfa Pyentam, Local 113 (London)
Casey McGuire, Local 412 (Ottawa)
Vincent Fernandes, Local 545 (Toronto)