Scarborough – Today, workers at Settlement Assistance and Family Support Services (SAFSS), Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 518 are bracing once again for a possible strike. They will be picketing for a second time outside of their head office, where their bargaining team continues negotiating a first contract with the employer.
Date: Monday, October 17, 2016
Time: 2:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Place: Outside SAFSS Head Office, 1200 Markham Rd, Toronto
Talks have spanned eighteen months already, but the employer has repeatedly stalled negotiations. The workers held their first picket on October 7, prior to the original strike deadline of 12:01 a.m., October 8. That day’s negotiations ended with an agreement by both parties to extend the strike deadline to 12:01 a.m., October 18, and continue negotiations October 17.
The key bargaining issues are an eight-year wage freeze, the employer’s unlawful suspension of benefits during a statutory freeze when no changes to contracts are permitted, and cuts to hours of work.
Bargaining chair for Local 518 Valentina Khoudiakova remains optimistic about achieving an agreement before the strike deadline. “Our demand is simple. We want a fair contract,” she said.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas maintains his support of workers in Local 518. “These workers have shown such tenacity. I know they won’t back down until they get a fair collective agreement.”
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