OPSEU/SEFPO workers in Timiskaming-Cochrane facing lockout; NUPGE calls for fair bargaining

big lock on door

February 12 2024

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is calling for fair bargaining after members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO/NUPGE) Local 631 received a lockout notice from their employer in the midst of ongoing negotiations.

The decision by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Timiskaming-Cochrane to disrupt the bargaining process came as workers were negotiating for fair pension rights for all members. Instead of negotiating, the employer is pushing for concessions and has issued a lockout notice set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, February 13.

The workers, who provide invaluable mental health support in Timiskaming-Cochrane are determined to get a fair deal for everyone in the bargaining unit and for the community they serve. They are united, and have given a solid strike mandate to their bargaining team. With strong support from the community, they are planning a campaign focused on the employer, on management, and on the Conservative MPP for Timmins and the Minister for Mental Health in the Ontario government.

“We stand in solidarity with the OPSEU/SEFPO Local 631 members who are fighting for a fair agreement that benefits everyone within the unit,” said Bert Blundon. “CMHA Timiskaming-Cochrane’s decision to resort to a lockout is an aggressive tactic aimed at intimidating workers, but these members see right through it.”

Blundon assured Local 631 members of NUPGE’s full support and called on CMHA Timiskaming-Cochrane to respect its workers and the bargaining process.

“OPSEU/SEFPO Local 631 members have shown strength and leadership at every stage. We ask the employer to do the same.”

How can you help?

Show your support for Local 631 and help workers get back to the bargaining table. You can send a message to Executive Director Paul Jalbert, Board Chair Paul Crombeen, and other leaders telling them to #EndTheLockout and get back to bargaining a fair deal for workers and the clients they support.