Central/Unified Ontario public service workers ratify new contract

“Our members have ratified the agreement, but they’ve lost all trust in a government that has no respect for OPS employees or the valuable work they do." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Toronto (02 Nov. 2015) — Members of the Ontario Public Service's (OPS) Central division have voted 67 per cent in favour of the tentative agreement recently reached between OPSEU/NUPGE and the Ontario government. The Unified division has approved the contract by 78 per cent. The ratification vote was held on October 27, 28 and 29.

OPSEU/NUPGE fought off concessions and bargained for improvements for public service workers

The new three-year contract covers the period January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2017.

Highlights of the agreement include

  • a 1.4 per cent lump sum award in 2016
  • a 1.4 per cent wage increase in 2017
  • rejection of a three-tiered (80, 50 and 20 per cent) drug reimbursement plan
  • rejection of a 12-step salary grid
  • rejection of a five per cent lower starting wage for OPSEU-represented positions
  • insertion of key anti-privatization language for enhanced job security
  • extension of the cap on termination pay to December 31, 2016

While pleased that the tentative deal had been ratified, Central/Unified Chair Roxanne Barnes said the relatively narrow margins were cause for concern. “The team had to fight tooth and nail to defeat the most devastating concessions demanded by the government, while helping to offset the cost of inflation, which continues to take its toll on real wages. Members’ lukewarm response is an indictment of this government, which for months refused to bargain in good faith.”

Government has no respect for workers or the work they do, says OPSEU/NUPGE

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas shared Barnes’s ambivalence about the results. “Our members have ratified the agreement, but they’ve lost all trust in a government that has no respect for OPS employees or the valuable work they do."

“I commend these dedicated women and men for their solidarity and continued engagement in the bargaining process, and I thank the bargaining team, the Executive Board, local reps and all those involved in the negotiations for their long hours and tireless efforts in hammering out this deal," said Thomas.

The Corrections bargaining team is set to resume bargaining on November 7 and 8.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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