Nominating/Election for Bargaining team and Demands
Hello members, yes I do realize it has been awhile since last communications have gone out. This is due in part to the lack of anything really happening. This pandemic has taken a toll on many of us, some a lot more than others. Your executive team has been working diligently with our OPSEU staff representative Michael Kirlew, trying to get as many members back to work and to gain as many hours as possible and at the same time trying to keep what we still have. The last two years has forced changes on both sides of the table. Niagara Parks Commission (your employer) has had to look at alternate ways to operate due to the lack of visitation; changes have been made and are still going to happen. Management has seen losses along with our membership, our local has lost valuable members and positions and they will be sorely missed, but we are still here to represent and support our current members. Corporate OPSEU has been operating mostly from home and has made a statement that no in person meetings can take place at this time, this is the direct reason no general membership meetings have been called since the pandemic started
I want to thank all the stewards that have been active and staying on top of member relations and also to thank all the members that have come forward with all of their concerns or even just to ask any question in general, this is how we stay connected. We currently have a lack of stewards in many locations which are a key resource for keeping up on issues in your specific locations. I welcome any member to come forward to be a steward, this is an excellent way to become involved and to try and make changes or simply help your fellow members. Please contact a member of the executive or any steward for more information on becoming a steward.
As this season is coming to a close, so too is our current Collective Agreement. Questions are emerging regarding what is happening and when is it happening. I can tell you now that we have a plan in place. The way we will be conducting our internal affairs regarding the nomination and election of our bargaining team will look different than years past. The way we conduct our demands will also be different this round of negotiations, this is a direct result of not being able to host any in person meetings.
Our membership has seen a large turnover in the last few years. We have lost a number of extremely knowledgeable members from our past negotiating teams, but we still have a handful of seasoned veterans left in the park that know the bargaining process and have dealt with management before at the table. With that being said we are moving forward and will be looking for interested members that want to sit on the negotiation team. This position requires dedication, knowledge of bargaining, long hours and possibly weeks, research, cooperation with the other team members and most important representing all the members equally throughout local 217. This is not a self serving position.
So now on with the plan:
Our negotiating team will consist of 5 bargaining members and our OPSEU staff representative. This means that nominations must take place and without being able to host an in person meeting we have decided to rent the Columbus Club of Niagara Falls located at 6944 Stanley Ave. known as Our Lady of Peace hall. The intent for renting the hall is to have you as a member and all members come in person and nominated up to 5 people for the negotiating team. This is NOT A MEETING but merely a drop in only (come in nominate your 5 people and then leave). The members of your executive will be in the hall to greet you to explain the process. If the need is there to host an election i.e. more than 5 members are nominated and they stand, further instruction will follow. You must be nominated by another member to run for the team. Also you must be a signed in member of OPSEU to vote, if you are not a signed in member the executive team will have the forms ready to be filled out at the nomination drop in.
Along with the nominations for the bargaining team we will also be looking for the members demands going into bargaining (this is what you would like to see change in the Collective Agreement). Again in the past we would normally host an in person meeting for this. Due to the OPSEU directive of not hosting in person meetings we instead will be asking that all members fill out a survey indicating your top 5 demands. Once the demands have been received our new bargaining team will organize them accordingly.
I have created a form with the help of our staff representative outlining all the important information you will need, they will be mailed out. Also you may contact myself if you need to. Contact information is located on our website at
The drop in nominations will take place on Tuesday October 12th 2021. There will be two sessions making it fair that shift workers can attend. The times are 10am-12pm and 5pm-7pm. Location again is 6944 Stanley Ave. the venue is known as Our Lady of Peace Hall run by the Columbus Club of Niagara Falls. You may also bring your Demands survey with you to hand to the executive. This in NOT a meeting, please be respectful to others and do not linger, we will answer all questions in a timely manner. All Covid safety measures will be in place.
Thank you and I hope to see everyone soon, Tom Churney Acting President OPSEU Local 217
We would like to have a Steward in every location, if you or a coworker are interested in becoming a Steward please contact a member of the executive, or nominate them at the next general meeting.

Thank you.
Chief Steward:Michael Goforth
Department:Building Systems Technician
Home:905 650 1099
Acting President:Tom Churney
Department:Truck Driver Labourer
Cell:905 321 5677
Secretary:Rick Gelineau
Department:Butterfly Conservatory
Cell:905 246 0041
OPSEU 217 Newsletter
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