Sudbury – After more than nine months of negotiations, some 30 workers with Sudbury YMCA have reached a tentative agreement with their employer, narrowly averting a looming strike deadline on September 8. If ratified, it would be their first collective agreement since joining the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) in June 2016.
“It’s taken a long time to get to this point,” said OPSEU staff representative Normand Pilon, “and it’s taken a whole lot of courage and determination. But the bargaining team is pleased to be able to present a tentative deal to the members and recommend its ratification.”
The three-year agreement is retroactive to August 1, 2016, and expires July 31, 2019, with salary increases retroactive to April 1, 2017. In addition to wage improvements, workers had been seeking a salary structure, uniformity in job classifications, and greater input into workplace policy and practice through labour-management meetings.
“Our members made important gains in each of these areas,” said Pilon. “Most particularly, we were seeking a sense of structure, stability, and predictability, which was seriously lacking. Workers will now be able look to the future with confidence, knowing that management must adhere to the working conditions laid out in the collective agreement.”
Sudbury YMCA staff belong to OPSEU Local 668. They work in employment and immigration services, helping their clients navigate seven provincial and federal programs, including ODSP, Ontario Works, Employment Ontario, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
“Reaching a first tentative deal is an important milestone in the life of a local union,” noted Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU. “In this particular case, I’m very pleased that the two sides were able to reach an agreement without resorting to a labour disruption. It’s further proof that when parties enter into negotiations in a spirit of goodwill and mutual respect, they can always find a way to move forward together.
“I’m optimistic for the future of these workers and their relationship with the employer.”
A ratification vote will take place on Thursday, September 15. Details are forthcoming.
For more information: Normand Pilon, 705-665-2216