WHAT HAPPENED AT SATURDAY’S VOTE?
After presentation of the highlights of the tentative agreement by the bargaining team, members were lined up at the microphones to voice their concerns about the deal. While the the membership made it very clear that it fell short of their addressing non-compensated hours of work, and addressing fair and transparent hiring practices. Particularly troubling amount of time professional/technical staff would be required to stay in a position after accepting it. During the last round of negotiations OPSSU made some progress by reducing the time required to be in a job before being considering for new posting from 24 to 18 months. They are now facing a concession by increasing the time to 36 months. Expecting members to stay in an unhealthy situation for 36 months before they can be considered for another job is simply a non-starter for many staff, given the state of labour relations.
The membership made it clear that the employer’s lack of movement on their key issues shows that they are not serious about addressing the culture in the workplace. Members are not willing to enter into a four-year deal with an employer that does not respect them, or the work that they do.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
The bargaining team has already advised the employer of the results of the vote and will be reaching out on Monday to relay what the stumbling blocks to reaching an agreement are. What happens after that is dependent upon the employer’s response. Their actions will speak volumes one way, or another. If they value and respect their staff, they will want to understand where their employees are coming from and will be looking for meaningful dialogue and addressing their issues. If they do not respect their staff, it will be a short conversation.
Another bargaining bulletin will follow once we have had a response from the employer to outline next steps. In the meantime, we can not emphasize enough that you need to prepare for the worst. OPSSU is seeking out a strike headquarters and insurance coverage. Strike Coordinators will be ensuring that they can have all of their constituents contact information. The mobilizing committee will be in touch soon with notices of further actions/activities.
Your OPSSU Bargaining Team