HAMILTON, ON, Aug. 12, 2018 /CNW/ - A tentative deal has been reached to end a three-and-a-half month lockout at the Arrell Youth Centre, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas announced on Sunday.
"We're pleased that our members can finally return to the jobs they love and continue the important work of protecting the community and helping some of the most troubled youth being held in provincial custody," Thomas said.
"In this case, the onus is on the employer to bury the past, extend a hand of goodwill to our members and make a vigorous and honest effort to create a more harmonious working climate."
The deal was finally reached late Saturday with the help of a mediator. The basis of a tentative deal was reached more than a month ago, but the employer refused to agree to a standard back to work protocol that included a guarantee of no reprisals or discipline of all employees for their activities during the lockout.
The tentative deal agreed to on Saturday includes such a guarantee.
OPSEU First Vice-President Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says the union will be applying close scrutiny in the coming months as the members settle back into their jobs.
We will be watching this workplace closely " Almeida said. "They'd better think long and hard about pursuing any kind of a vendetta against our members."
"It's telling that this dispute lasted a month longer than it should have because of apparent bruised feelings. There was no way that our members were going to return to a workplace that put their future in harm's way. We didn't start this dispute."
The 60 members of OPSEU Local 216 work were locked out on April 27, 2018 and the facility was shut down, forcing the youth to far-away facilities across the province.
A ratification vote will be held in the coming days. The board of Banyan Community Services, which operates the Arrell facility, must also approve.
Thomas also praised the resolve of the members who spent more than three months on the picket line.
"I am so proud of our members who never flinched in a difficult situation," Thomas said. "They have the respect and admiration of everyone at OPSEU."
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 613-329-1931