A letter from your President December 2023
A letter from your President Hello OPSEU Local 217 members, welcome to a new year of union business and I can tell you it will be a busy one. The union will be having our next General Membership Meeting February 15th, 2024 at 6pm located at the Royal Canadian Legion 5603 Spring Street, Niagara Falls, ON. L2G 1P7. We will be nominating and electing two delegates and 3 alternates for OPSEU Convention 2024. Updates will include: Bargaining progress, Joint Job Evaluation Committee progress and answering questions and concerns. Your local executive committee looks forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the meeting.
As promised now that the New Year has started your Bargaining Team, Local Executive Committee (LEC) and your Joint Job Evaluation Committee (JJEC) have been busy. As you may already know we are without a contract. Our previously contract ended October 31st, 2023. The elected Bargaining team along with Sabrina our OPSEU staff representative have met twice already this February and will meet again on the 23rd of this month. This meeting is defined as our Caucus meetings. The Team has been tasked with organizing all demands that were brought forward and prioritizing them. With Doug Fords Bill 124 behind us, now more than ever is the time for an increase in all of our wages. During bargaining and throughout the negotiating process the team will be pushing for the demands that were brought forward. The retro pay increase from the last two years due to Bill 124 and the future wage increases will be the forefront of our negotiating. Once caucus has concluded and we are ready to move forward with our demands package the team will be meeting February 26 and 27 with our employer’s team. There are two dates booked for March as well, which is good news because we are planning to have the negotiating process close to or even concluded by this time.
I hope and ask everyone to understand the sensitivity and confidentiality surrounding the bargaining processes. The discussions and meetings within the team and with the employer unfortunately cannot be discussed publicly. Once the team and the employer come to an agreement we will host meetings to explain the changes and then ask for a ratification vote. Naturally if we are unable to reach an agreement then other steps will be taken i.e. strike vote mandate, but we are far off from that at this point.
While the notion of a strike sounds great, which again it may come down to in order to get our point across not only to the park but also the Ontario Government. Some members may not be able to have strike as an option. This is why we always stress the importance of coming out and voting, we only need 5% of the membership to make quorum and in our case its about 32 members that could potentially decide the outcome of a strike vote or the outcome of the ratification of the new contract.
Note, ONLY SIGNED IN MEMBERS are eligible to receive strike pay. Just because you are paying dues does not mean you are a signed in member. You MUST fill out an application either online at https://hub03.opseu.org/Forms/emaweb or by contacting a member of the LEC for a hard copy to fill out.
The union Bargaining Team will consist of Tom Churney, Mike Goforth, Colin Mackenzie, Nick Bye, Crispin Bottomley and our OPSEU staff representative Sabrina DeGirolamo with the alternate being Desiree Constantinides. We will not know the employers team until the first day of bargaining. Although our contract has officially ended we are still using that contracts language. The contract can be found on our opseu217.org website on the homepage under New Contract. We always encourage updating your personal email addresses for correspondence reasons. Along with sending out emails to you we also use our website and our OPSEU 217 facebook page, please check the website and I welcome everyone to join our facebook page to engage in the conversation.
In regards to the JJEC, the team is ever closer to finalizing the new evaluation system. What this means for you is that you will be able to have your jobs evaluated again. It has been years now since this was possible. The next step for you the member that thinks they should be receiving more compensation for what you do is to have documentation. Just saying you want more money for what you do is not enough. I highly recommend that you document why you think you should get more and document everything that has changed from your initial job posting e.i. what other tasks have been put on your work load, what more responsibilities you have taken on, or possibly are you supervising now. Anything really that has significantly changed from you original job description. The JJEC is rated by the union team and the employer team collectively. If this decision is not what you were hoping for all your notes to prove why will definitely be asked for and could potentially help your case.
See you at the General membership meeting,
Tom Churney President OPSEU/SEFPO Local 217 E: email@example.com C: (905) 321-5677