On September 17, 2015, Addiction & Mental Health Services–Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington became the latest members of the OPSEU family – or at least some of them did.
On April 1, the South East Local Health Integration Network (SE LHIN) ordered the amalgamation of the Lennox & Addington Addiction and Community Mental Health Services, represented by Local 1 of the Service Employees International Union (SIEU), and Frontenac Community Mental Health & Addiction Services, represented by OPSEU Local 489, to form Addiction & Mental Health Services–Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (AMHS-KFLA).
The Ontario Labour Relations Board conducted a merger vote to allow the workers to choose which union would represent them at the new agency. With the vote overwhelming favouring OPSEU, the union now represents all 207 workers at AMHS‑KFLA.
Tom Pinero, President of OPSEU Local 489, hailed the result as a huge step towards securing a more promising future for the workers OPSEU represents. “By voting to join OPSEU, they’ve given themselves a powerful voice for fair wages and benefits, workplace health and safety, and job security.”
The new Local 489 members add to the growing number of Ontario health care workers who are putting their confidence in the experienced and effective hands of OPSEU to protect their best interests – and the services they offer their clients – in these changing times of increasing pressures on service providers, the threat of privatization, and government austerity agendas.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, said the AMHS-KFLA workers’ instinct to put their trust in OPSEU was well‑founded. “OPSEU has a proven track record when it comes to negotiating excellent collective agreements for our members in hundreds of provincial agencies, as well as protecting the valuable services that Ontarians need and rely on.
“I extend a warm welcome to our new members and pledge the union’s full support in helping them continue to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents.”