"As far as I can see, these dramatic pay hikes for managers mean that their 'fiscal framework' just went out the window." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (17 Dec. 2015) — If the provincial government has money to boost pay for public service managers, it has money for front-line staff as well, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.
Cupboard bare for workers, but not for Sunshine List managers
"According to the news, Ontario Public Service managers who are already on the Sunshine List are getting extra pay worth $6,900 on average," Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. "It looks to me like the era of pay freezes — which are really pay cuts, after inflation — is over."
Thomas made the comments as the union and the government prepare to return to the bargaining table for OPSEU's 6,000-strong correctional bargaining unit on December 18. In voting last week, 67 per cent of correctional staff rejected a tentative agreement that stayed within the government's demand of "net zero" increases in compensation.
"Until now, the government has maintained that all conversations about pay had to take place inside their 'fiscal framework' of ongoing pay cuts," Thomas said. "As far as I can see, these dramatic pay hikes for managers mean that 'fiscal framework' just went out the window."
OPSEU/NUPGE correctional workers looking for serious offer to avoid strike action
Thomas encouraged the government to come back to the bargaining table with a serious offer designed to avoid a strike or lockout in correctional services.
"There is a crisis in corrections in Ontario," he said. "In the jails we have overcrowding, understaffing, and rising numbers of inmates with mental health issues. In probation and parole, we have the highest caseloads of any province in Canada."
"There is no way to address the crisis without more funding," Thomas said. "If the government comes back to the table preaching more austerity, we are heading for a major labour disruption."
Public Services Foundation of Canada — Crisis in Corrections: Overcrowding and inmates with mental health problems in provincial correctional facilities
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