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Unified Bargaining Bulletin 3: Worth more than Bill 124

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Message from President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida: There’s more to a contract than money

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When it comes to bargaining a new contract, many people – especially in the media – are fixated on wages. But wages are only one piece of the workplace puzzle.

Don’t get us wrong: wages are vitally important. They put food on the table and a roof over our heads. But poll after poll has shown that workers have other priorities too – like more time off.

With overall compensation above one per cent essentially off the table, thanks to Bill 124 – for now, anyway – your bargaining team is working hard to achieve the best possible contract by bringing your top non-monetary demands to the table.

We take to heart your team’s appeal for support. As seasoned negotiators, we recognize the critical importance of having the membership behind you. Take our word for it: it makes a huge difference at the table when the employer knows 30,00 0 members have thrown their support behind their team.

So whenever the team or your local asks for help, we encourage you to step up and do what you can. After all, it’s in your best interests and those of your loved ones.

For our part, we recommit to being there every step of the way, along with our professional, financial and moral support.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer

Message from your bargaining team

Your Unified bargaining team exchanged proposals with the employer on November 15, 2021, starting this round of bargaining.

The team outlined a comprehensive list of demands that were established at each local’s demand set meetings held earlier this year. We presented those demands to the employer.

The team also emphasized the need for measures to address systemic racism and inequities in our workplaces, with ongoing structural change to remove barriers for marginalized members. OPSEU/SEFPO will lead the way in addressing equity matters, including dismantling anti-Black racism and creating equal opportunities for Indigenous and racialized OPS members.

We are committed to negotiating a fair deal amidst Bill 124. Our objective is to negotiate improvements to the working conditions of thousands of OPSEU/SEFPO members, and to allow for an effective means of supporting the province’s economic recovery.

Thank you for all the support you’ve shown the bargaining team so far as we’ve been getting ready to begin these negotiations. The team will be posting regular updates as bargaining moves forward. We are all in this together, and we will make sure that your voice is heard and that you get the recognition you deserve. We will fight hard for a fair, strong agreement for us all.

Meetings are taking place across the province with your regional leadership (local presidents, Executive Board Members, Regional Vice-Presidents, etc.) to provide bargaining updates, activate area co-ordinating groups, provide emergency essential service support to the locals, and mobilize members.

As further initiatives develop, your continued support and participation are vital. Please keep yourselves informed through your local presidents and local executive committees.

Our strength at the table comes from your support. You can help the team – and yourself – by engaging in the process. Please make sure OPSEU/SEFPO has your updated contact information and verify that all of your co-workers have provided their contact information too.

To succeed, we must have every member standing behind the bargaining team – as though you were at the table with us.

In solidarity,

Your OPSEU/SEFPO OPS Unified Bargaining Team