"The employer now has no doubt that we are serious about our demands, and we will not back down. We will get a fair deal.” — Valentina Khoudiakova, OPSEU Local 518 President
Toronto (12 Oct. 2016) — After 14 hours at the negotiating table yesterday, the employer at Settlement Assistance and Family Support Services (SAFSS) and Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) Local 518 agreed to extend the strike deadline to 12:01 a.m., October 18. Negotiations resume October 17.
Khoudiakova, Chair of the bargaining team, optimistic about a deal
“We’ve made ourselves very clear to the employer. We will continue to fight for a fair deal," said Valentina Khoudiakova, Chair of the bargaining team and OPSEU Local 518 President.
SAFSS workers held a picket outside of the head office yesterday to support their bargaining team at the table, and they were joined by a number of other OPSEU/NUPGE members, staff, and Executive Board members.
“The support from members and the public has been overwhelming,” said Khoudiakova. “I’m so proud of that. The employer now has no doubt that we are serious about our demands, and we will not back down. We will get a fair deal.”
Negotiations have spanned 18 months for the 48-member local. Key demands are ending an 8-year wage freeze, and reinstating benefits that the employer had unlawfully suspended during a statutory freeze when no changes to contracts are permitted.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas applauded the work of Local 518 bargaining team
“This will be their first contract as OPSEU members, and they’re proving to be no rookies. They know the value of their work. Now it’s time the employer recognizes it.”
OPSEU members at SAFSS provide a variety of services for recent immigrants, including language and skills development, newcomer settlement services and childcare.
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