|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 25, 1999Come to the table, Chris -
TORONTO -OPSEU President Leah Casselman Thursday challenged Management Board
Chairman Chris Hodgson to come to the table himself and bargain a contract for her 48,000
members in the Ontario Public Service.
"You have moved on your concessions; and you have moved in the right
direction," she said. "Lets sit down and finish the job. The so-called
final offer tabled today is not acceptable.
"Lets have some movement on our
issues. Lets make Factor 80 retirement permanent so people can retire early;
lets make real jobs benefits for unclassified staff; lets have job security.
"This government has downsized by 18,000
positions (with a mandate to cut 13,500). What is so unreasonable about agreeing that any
further downsizing will be through attrition?" she asked.
"Who gave the government the mandate to get
rid of any more jobs in the first place? The public service of Ontario has made huge
sacrifices on the altar of the provincial deficit crisis. These people have paid
enough," Casselman said.
The government offer tabled Thursday withdrew a
demand for short-term layoffs of up to six months and another on dismissal of unclassified
"Why didnt they make these moves
earlier?" Casselman asked. "Why? Ill tell you why. They have moved because
of the threat of a strike vote. A strong strike mandate next week will force them to enter
into real bargaining - where we talk about our issues and their issues and reach a
negotiated settlement," Casselman said.
"We havent seen that yet in this round
of talks with the government."
In rearranging its package of concessions, the
government has hung onto a package of items that would institutionalize favoritism and
cronyism in government worksites.
They want "pay for performance" where
individual managers can decide who (if anyone) gets extra pay. And they want
super-seniority for "developmental positions" where selected favourite employees
would have a shield thrown over them for 18 months. The government could then go through
that area and downsize with impunity, and lift the shield after more senior employees have
been pushed out the door.
"Its a managers dream,"
said Casselman. "Its carte blanche for arbitrary measures. We cannot
More information is coming:
Full details on the offer will be posted to the
union's web page as soon as possible, but certainly before noon, Friday, Feb. 26: www.opseu.org.
A full edition of Table Talk explaining the offer
in detail will be available in print for distribution across the province Monday in
English and French.
In addition, a short video highlighting the offer
will be available at the vote meetings March 3, 4, and 5.
For further information:
Katie FitzRandolph (OPSEU Communications)
(416) 448-7440 or home (416) 967-5964
Randy Robinson (OPSEU Communications)
(416) 448-7441 0r cell (416) 315-2982
Pierre Floréa (OPSEU Communications)
(416) 448-7442, c. (416) 258-1231