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Is the May 12, 2005 offer actually the Employer's "final" offer?  Can we do better?  Consider this:

2002 Bargaining Gains
With a strong strike mandate in 2002, here is what we achieved:

2002 OPS Bargaining - Balance Sheet

OPS Bargaining History
To understand where we are going, we have to understand where we have been.  Click below to read the history of OPS bargaining within OPSEU.

FYI - OPSEU Bargaining History - Click here

May 12 offer and Article 53
Reading contract language can be confusing.  In the Employer's offer, there would be changes to severance and Article 53 of the Collective Agreement.
For your reference, please read the attached legal explanation of how the changes would impact us.

FYI - ESA Applicaiton to OPS Employer's Proposed Separation Allowance and Article 53 Language Changes

May 12 Memorandum to Deputy Ministers
Gayle Fisher, Assistant Deputy Minister, Employee Relations issued a memorandum to all Deputy Ministers on May 12, 2005. 
In the last bullet point, Ms. Fisher states that there are "improvements to the scope of redeployment to broaden the range of opportunities for displaced employees".  Yet, she fails to paint the full picture to the Deputy Ministers.  She doesn't mention the deletion of the words 'minimally qualified'.  Unlike our current collective agreement, where you need entry levels skills for a particular position for redeployment, the new wording implies a higher degree of skill.  Many will not qualify for redeployment.  Many will end up unemployed.  With known proposed job cuts upwards of 6,000, are you willilng to give up your rights under redeployment?
Ms. Fisher fails to mention the employers intent to have a moretorium on filling classification grienvances for the next 3 years.  What this translates to is that all current classification grievances filed before the Joint System Sub Committee, there is no resolution in sight.  And there won't be any new classification grievances allowed to be filed until the "moretorium" reaches some sort of a conclusion. 
Ms. Fisher has also been remiss in mentioning that the Employer wants the Union to agree to any and all challenges to the Pay Equity Act.  This is a major violation of non-compliance under the Act.  The Union has no right to sanction this type of action with its members.  

What is particularly interesting is the implied knowledge that we are going to turn this contract offer down and the Employer fully anticipates the resumption of negotiation.  In the second last sentence, Ms. Fisher states that 'bargaining will resume at the end of the month". 

Check it out for yourself.  Click below to read the Fisher memorandum.

Fisher memo - May 12, 2005.pdf

Take aways versus meeting our demands
The Employer has put before you an offer that does not offer a single improvement.  As a matter of fact, it totally ignores every single one our bargaining demands and would eliminate conditions we fought for in previous rounds of negotiation.
To add insult to injury, the Employer has left some of the appendix information blank.  Would you sign a blank cheque to pay your utilities or mortgage?  Would you sign a Purchase Agreement without having the date of closing or purchase price filled in?
With such vital information missing and not one of our demands being mentioned, is this really the Employer's final stand in this round of negotiations?  The Bargaining Team strongly believes that the Employer can and will offer a better contract, if we turn this one down.  The Bargaining Team strongly recommends rejection of this offer. 
We must have faith in our Bargaining Teams.  What other choice do we have?


May 13, 2005 - Average Wage Settlements for March 2005 released
Our Employer would like us to believe "it's a 2% world".  Which world?
According to the Workplace Information Directorate, Labour Program, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the average wage adjustment in the public sector for March 2005 was 2.7%.  Yet, the Employer continues to offer you only 2%.
It should also be noted that the current rate of inflation is 2.3%.
In Finance Minister Greg Sorbara's 2005 Budget Speech, he states "With steady gains in employment, overall personal income is expected to increase by 3.8% this year and an average of 4.9% through 2006-2008." 
So, where is this 2% world and why are Ontario public service workers worth so much less than any other worker in the Province?  Is this from the same government whose leader stated, on election night October 2003, that he "valued" our work?  This same leader also made a commitment that night to work with us to "rebuild public services" then turned around 13 months later to announce a 15% reduction in staffing levels in the OPS.  Is this wage settlement offer from the same government, whose Finance Minister paid "tribute to the thousands of men and women in the Ontario Public Service who have dedicated their careers to serving the people of this province" in his 2005 Budget Speech?
The wage proposal in the May 12, 2005 offer is far below the anticpated personal income growth determined by our own Employer, below the average wage settlements in other public sector agreements and below the current rate of inflation.  Do you feel valued? 
Click below to see the Labour Program Report from the Government of Canada.

Labour Program - 2005 Wage Settlements.pdf

Salary Steps - What does 2% really mean?

The Employer CAN afford the extension of Factor 80
The current surplus in the Employer's Stabilization Fund is $359 million. 
Did you know that, to fund Factor 80 for the approximately 3,800 OPS members who will qualify within the next three years, the cost to the Employer is only $173 million?  This is less than half of the current surplus in the Stabilization Fund. 
So why are they saying NO to the extension of Factor 80 in their May 12 offer?  Just something else to consider.
2002 Order in Council
Did you know that the Tory Employer filed for an Order of Council, authorizing overtime pay for managers TWO MONTHS PRIOR TO A 2002 STRIKE VOTE BY UNION MEMBERS? 
This is a highly unusual and highly unethical labour relations practice.  It certainly implies that the Employer had no intention of providing us with a decent offer to avoid a labour disruption.  It set the stage for either a strike or a lockout, without the 2002 Bargaining Team even realizing it.  Unfortunately, the Union did not discover the Order in Council until after we had ratified our 2002 Collective Agreement.
In 2002, overtime payments for managers inflated payroll expenditures in excess of $110 million dollars.  Yet, the Employer would like you to believe that they save money when we go on strike.  This is simply one example that proves it is not the case.
Having learned from the experience, the Union has been vigilantly watching to see if any action like this ever happens again.  In 2005, the Union has not seen any similar actions by this Employer.  No Order in Council has yet been filed by the Employer in 2005 to authorize overtime pay for management.
OPSEU Local 340 is a non-profit organization committed to serving its members within the Durham Region.  Questions or Comments?  Please contact us.
OPSEU Local 340
110-40 King St W
Oshawa, Ontario L1H 1A4
Phone: (905) 579-2658
Fax:  (905) 579-6619