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Toronto bail workers vote in favour of strike action

Almost one year after their contract expired, OPSEU members with the Ministry of the Attorney General’s bail program have voted to take strike action if they can’t reach an agreement at the bargaining table.

“Our counterparts with the federal government who administer a similar program have regularly received annual wage increases of about two per cent, but our wages with the provincial government have been frozen since 2011,” said Sabrina Cocuzza, chair of the bargaining team for OPSEU Local 548 which represents more than 50 workers in the bail program in Toronto.

“In 2010 we got a one per cent hike, so for us it’s been years of austerity and our members are frustrated,” she added.

The two sides met in November and no progress was reported from the bargaining table. They met again last week with the assistance of a conciliator and again no progress was made. Bargaining is set to resume at the end of March – one year after the current contract expired.

“These workers have been getting a raw deal for too long now,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “They’re frustrated for good reason and if they choose to take job action at some point down the road, they know they have the full and unqualified support of their union.”

Working closely with provincial courts, the Toronto bail program provides bail verification and supervision services under contract to the MAG.

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Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Sabrina Cocuzza