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Toronto North Legal Aid employees ratify their first collective agreement

Community Agencies Sector 5

Toronto – The 14 members of OPSEU Local 525 – Legal Aid Ontario Toronto North District have voted 100 per cent to ratify their first collective agreement, ending management’s ability to unilaterally dictate working conditions like wages, disability benefits, and vacations.
“When you join OPSEU, you put an end to just being told what pay and vacation you get,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “As the members of Local 525 have just learned, joining OPSEU gives you a real say in your workplace.

“And as the first Legal Aid district office in Ontario to unionize, these members are showing hundreds of other Legal Aid employees across the province how empowering it is to belong to OPSEU,” Thomas added.  
The one-year collective agreement includes a 1.5 per cent wage increase, and a provision that will ensure these new OPSEU members also receive any further wage increases negotiated by OPSEU members at Legal Aid Ontario’s provincial head office. Those negotiations are expected to begin later in May.

The Local 525 collective agreement also enshrines a collaborative process between management and local union representatives to identify and resolve issues on the ground.
“It is a new day for us in Toronto North District,” said Local 525 bargaining committee chairperson Fred Diamond.
“After months of work, we have a collective agreement that will serve as the basis for a renewed and positive relationship with management,” Diamond said. “We hope it will also serve as a template for other collective agreements between OPSEU and Legal Aid Ontario across the province.”

For more information:
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 613-329-1931