By now you have probably heard that the staff at OPSEU are in bargaining with their employer, OPSEU management (Smokey and his team). You may also have received a robocall from Smokey last week about bargaining, and seen the press releases from OPSEU and OPSSU (the Ontario Public Service Staff Union). 
[Read the OPSSU press release here]

You are receiving this communication because, after four days of negotiations, OPSEU staff and OPSEU management reached a tentative agreement, which OPSEU staff rejected. OPSEU management immediately filed for conciliation. Given the way things went with the first round of negotiations, OPSEU staff are very concerned that OPSEU management will lock us out or force us out on strike.

Staff trust in OPSEU management is at an all-time low. We are tired of management intimidation, and fed up with being silenced as activists. OPSEU management would not condone their own behaviour in the workplaces they represent.

We need OPSEU management to return to the bargaining table with a commitment to improve the workplace for all staff, and create a work environment where respect is a priority.

You may have attended the 2016 OPSEU Convention, where Smokey and staff union leaders addressed the sexual harassment complaints that were covered in the media. Smokey pledged at Convention to work together with staff to improve the workplace. It is time to ask him to keep his word and reflect his commitment at the bargaining table.

Why is OPSSU (OPSEU staff’s union) returning to the table to ask for a better deal?

OPSEU must commit to a safe and healthy workplace free of psychological harassment
The current language is not enough, as is evidenced by the results of a recent workplace stress survey. This is our number one priority.

A four-year deal is too long when our members do not feel they have a psychologically safe and healthy workplace.
We want to be able to negotiate terms in a timely manner given the employer’s hesitance to improving language throughout the collective agreement. There are on-going changes of concern including rewriting job descriptions, which now include corporate-style core competencies, without consulting the union. There is also continued major restructuring of the workplace.

OPSEU jobs should go to OPSEU members before friends and family.

OPSEU should not have a revolving door on temporary staff: They should commit to permanent jobs. Locking staff into new positions for 36 months will stifle opportunities for OPSEU staff and members and will lead to more short-term temporary hires, increased nepotism and lack of transparency in hiring.  This language is a huge take away, which reverses the improvements made over two agreements.

Staff work long hours, many of which are not paid. 
We are asking the employer to reduce the number of unpaid hours.

Job security language must be improved.

The closure of the OPSEU Resource Centre in 2015 revealed a problem with the language around staffing levels, layoffs and bumping – an issue OPSEU management is not prepared to address.

Staff at OPSEU are proud to work with OPSEU members. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure there is no break in the services we provide. We are stronger with your support!

Support your staff

Please email or call Smokey Thomas, Eddy Almeida and your Executive Board Members. Ask them to bargain a fair deal with their staff.

OPSEU President Smokey Thomas:

1-866-264-4982 (cell)

OPSEU First VP/ Treasurer Eddy Almeida:
1-855-390-2135 (cell)

Contact information for all OPSEU Executive Board Members is available at

Please make a commitment to join staff on a picket line if they are locked out or made to go on strike. Email us with your pledge to support our picket lines:

Please share this message widely among your co-workers, union contacts, labour council representatives and other allies.