RENFREW COUNTY, ON, Feb. 21, 2017 /CNW/ - Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) working at Family and Children's Services Renfrew County have voted 77 per cent in favour of strike action if negotiations fail to produce a new collective agreement.
The 105-member OPSEU local has experienced fairly good labour relations in the last two decades, which is what makes the difficulty of this round of negotiations so surprising, noted OPSEU Local 459 president Nicole Dennison McLeod. This is the local's first strike vote since 1984.
"That's how you know it's serious," said Dennison McLeod. "Workload is one of our biggest concerns. We need to see explicit, enforceable language on that before we can sign anything.
"Our work is protecting society's most vulnerable children," she continued. "We can't give each child the attention and care they need if we're juggling more cases than we can handle."
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas shared the local president's concerns: "Providing a safe workplace by capping workloads is so crucial, especially in this sector.
"I hope this employer realizes it before any kids slip through the cracks."
Another sticking point in this round of negotiations is job security, a sector-wide issue in child protection/welfare services.
Family and Children's Services Renfrew County provides child protection/welfare and developmental services to families in Renfrew County.
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Nicole Dennison McLeod, 613-401-4358