Toronto – The members of OPSEU Local 548 who work at the Toronto Bail Program have ratified a hard-won contract that includes wage increases, improved health coverage, and an important initial step in addressing the pay gap between workers doing similar work in different divisions.
“I’m so impressed by these members,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “They stood together. They demanded respect. And they won.
“This is exactly the kind of back-to-basics bargaining we need to be doing to protect ourselves and our services from employers and politicians who think they can underfund and cut with impunity.”
The Toronto Bail Program works out of 10 offices across the GTA to prevent people facing criminal or immigration issues from being remanded in provincial jails while awaiting trial or hearing.
The service helps people facing charges with things like housing, work permits, and mental health care. The service also helps reduce dangerous overcrowding in our jails.
Negotiating this renewal contract wasn’t easy. The employer’s initial offer did nothing to address the significant pay gap between the members who support people facing immigration issues (whose wages are funded by the federal government), and the members who support people facing criminal charges (whose wages are funded by the provincial government).
“I’m incredibly proud to say that we stood strongly together and demanded that our work and the people we serve get the respect they deserve,” said bargaining team member Michelle Moore.
The bargaining team fought hard to get the employer to consider addressing work load issues and a pension plan that provides a better retirement for members.
“Even though this round of bargaining is finished, I can promise that we’ll continue to stand together to ensure that we’re able to offer the best services possible.”