HAMILTON – In a vote held July 24, workers at OPSEU Local 262, Hamilton Outreach, Ontario March of Dimes have unanimously rejected a final contract offer from the employer.
The offer would create a two-tier work force where new employees do not receive some of the benefits current employees receive, and eliminates major portions of the current contract’s job security language.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said his members are looking for modest improvements that are completely in line with today’s economic realities. “We’re looking for very frugal gains that will not put any significant pressure on this employer,” Thomas said. “We haven’t even asked for a wage increase. However, the employer has completely rejected our proposals and instead wants to strip away benefits and job security provisions from their workers.”
Hamilton Outreach has requested a “No Board” report from the Ontario Labour Relations Board, which starts the legal clock towards a strike or lockout. This could happen by mid-August.
Thomas said the union has requested that the employer return to the bargaining table and enter into mediation through a provincial conciliator with the goal of reaching an agreement. The employer so far has refused to meet unless the union accepts their final offer.
“There is no reason why we can’t reach an agreement on this contract,” Thomas said. “We have already put forward a reasonable position. Now it’s up to this employer to return to the bargaining table and do the same.”