HAMILTON, ON, Aug. 13, 2018 /CNW/ - Members of OPSEU local 216 working at the Arrell Youth Centre have rejected a tentative deal reached late Saturday – sending a clear signal to their employer.
After the employer refused to negotiate for more than a month, a mediator was brought in to help. While some progress was achieved - including an agreement to implement a standard back to work protocol that guarantees no reprisals or discipline for employees upon their return to work – members remained concerned with the employer's proposed benefits cut.
"The CEO must accept full responsibility for this," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "Kim Ciavarella's outlandish demands at the bargaining table have only served to strengthen the members' resolve."
Thomas had harsh words for Ciavarella's refusal to bargain for the past month unless she was allowed to possibly discipline OPSEU and its members for pointing out she received a hefty pay increase while expecting her employees to swallow concessions.
"Taking a 20 per cent pay increase, while demanding your frontline staff pay more out of their own pocket for their health benefits is cruel," said Thomas.
"Refusing to bargain because your ego is bruised, while staff and youth are locked out is simply incorrigible – it's no wonder these members are demanding better, and holding their ground.
Thomas said the results of the ratification vote speak to a deep sense of non-confidence in CEO Kim Ciavarella.
"These members keep our communities safe, and they deserve fairness and respect," said Thomas. "They are choosing to stand strong against a bully employer, and they've got the full support of all 155,000 OPSEU members behind them. It's not always easy to stand up for what's right. But these members are accustomed to tough circumstances - they live it on the frontlines every day."
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931