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Rideauwood addictions workers reach tentative agreement on first contract

OPSEU Mental Health Division

Ottawa – After a lengthy round of bargaining, approximately 40 workers with Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services have reached their first tentative agreement.

“A lot of determination, courage, and hard work went into this tentative agreement,” said Wendy Brown, an addictions counsellor and the chair of OPSEU Local 454’s Rideauwood bargaining committee, which also includes Vanessa Robinson and Joseph Zacconi.

“It was tough on all of us at times – this is the first time many of us have been in a union,” said Brown. “But we all stuck together and I’m very proud to present this tentative deal to all my co-workers and recommend that they vote to ratify it.”

The two-year agreement is retroactive to January 1, 2018, and expires March 31, 2020. In addition to wage increases, workers will receive a signing bonus of up to $1,000, and a collective agreement that gives them increased transparency, job security, and a formal grievance process.

The workers, who voted to join OPSEU in 2016, provide addictions counselling and services to nearly 2,500 children, teens, adults, and families across the Ottawa region. They will vote on the tentative agreement on Friday, March 9, at 4 p.m. at the Rideauwood office.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of the same union as these Rideauwood workers,” says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “These workers are on the frontlines of the opioid crisis and they deserve to be treated with fairness and respect.

“They also deserve to be congratulated for the courage and conviction they’ve shown over the past two years,” Thomas says. “By joining a union and standing strong at the bargaining table, they’ve ensured that they have what they need to deliver the best possible care to the kids and families who depend on them.”

For more information:
Wendy Brown: wendee123@hotmail.com
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 613-329-1931