Scarborough – After 14 hours at the negotiating table yesterday, the employer at Settlement Assistance and Family Support Services and Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 518 agreed to extend the strike deadline to 12:01 a.m., October 18. Negotiations resume October 17.
Chair of the bargaining team and Local 518 president Valentina Khoudiakova is optimistic.
“We’ve made ourselves very clear to the employer. We will continue to fight for a fair deal.”
SAFSS workers held a picket outside of Head Office yesterday to support their bargaining team at the table, and were joined by a number of other OPSEU members, staff, and Executive Board Members.
“The support from members and the public has been overwhelming,” said Khoudiakova. “I’m so proud of that. The employer now has no doubt that we are serious about our demands, and we will not back down. We will get a fair deal.”
Negotiations have spanned 18 months for the 48-member local. Key demands are ending an eight-year wage freeze, and a reinstating benefits which the employer had unlawfully suspended during a statutory freeze when no changes to contracts are permitted.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas applauded the work of the Local 518 bargaining team.
“This will be their first contract as OPSEU members, and they’re proving to be no rookies. They know the value of their work. Now it’s time the employer recognizes it.”
OPSEU members at SAFSS provide a variety of services for recent immigrants, including language and skills development, newcomer settlement services, and childcare.
For more information: Valentina Khoudiakova, 905-889-6512, or Roz Gunn, A/Communications Officer, OPSEU, 416-708-7390