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Welcome to Taking Flight, the bargaining bulletin for OPSEU members at Ornge


When we entered into this year’s round of bargaining, your message to our bargaining team was clear. You directed us to reach a deal that ensured we could enjoy a proper work-life balance. Your bargaining team has kept this demand our priority.

There are good reasons for doing so. Our schedules are relentless and we have to be at our best, 24/7. Our work is complex. We are required to work days, evenings and holidays. The Ornge Communications Centre (OCC) is the first line of response for thousands of Ontarians who each year require the medical assistance that Ornge provides. To be proficient on the job, we need to balance our obligations in the workplace with a life away from Ornge. This includes adequate down time to spend with our families and communities.

Judging by the words and actions from Ornge management at the bargaining table, they want to avoid the issue of work-life balance altogether, and, in their words, “Staff with Certainty.” They expect us to:

  • work more hours each week, for less;
  • accept a 1.5 per cent lump sum payout for years one and two, and a one per cent lump sum in year three rather than a general wage increase;
  • accept less stat time, fewer drop shifts, and fewer personal days;
  • give up the ability to bank time; and
  • rename our sick leave to “Wage Loss Replacement Plan Due to Illness,” while decreasing the amount of sick leave accrued.

Ornge is also trying to divide our local and diminish solidarity by introducing a two-tier wage grid that will amount to segregating new OCC hires after ratification.

We’ve filed for arbitration

After 10 face-to-face bargaining sessions, we’ve finally had enough. Your bargaining team has strongly rejected management’s demands. As a result we’ve filed for arbitration through the Ontario Labour Relations Board. No date for arbitration has yet been scheduled. Your bargaining team is firmly opposed to these concessions and will make the case against Ornge while at arbitration. In the meantime, please remember that the current collective agreement remains in effect.

The team would like to thank everyone for the strong support we’ve received as we continue to work to reach a tentative agreement.

In solidarity,

Your OPSEU Local 505 Bargaining Team

Andrew McIlroy, Chair – mcilroy@rogers.com

Brian Leo – brianleo@rogers.com

Adam Pitsinigas – adampits75@gmail.com

Stacey Eichler – staceyeichler@hotmail.com

Ann Ledwidge, OPSEU Staff Negotiator aledwidge@opseu.org