June 29, 2001
Bill 25 passes:
Table set for bargaining
The Harris government has passed Bill
25 - changes to the Public Service Act that will have a major impact
on our bargaining.
Did they listen to our members’
call to keep public services public and maintain good permanent jobs
in the OPS? No.
OPSEU members from the OPS dominated
the 1½ hours allowed for public hearings on the bill. They talked
about the importance of an impartial, professional and accountable
public service. They called on the government to abandon Bill 25.
Despite those efforts, the Tories
pushed Bill 25 through the Legislature on Tuesday, June 26.
Legislative majority doesn't count in
In the Legislature, the Tories have a
majority. They have the power to pass any legislation they wish.
The next step to putting Bill 25 into
effect comes in negotiations with OPSEU for the next OPS contract -
and in that forum the Tories do NOT hold a majority. They do NOT
have the power to push anything they wish into the contract.
We have the power to stop them.
The government has set their side of
the table for this round of bargaining. They want a more ‘flexible’
and ‘disposable’ workforce. They want to be able to contract out
management to the private sector. They want more people to have
access to your personnel files.
The OPSEU contract limits government
Bill 25 lets them do all of this. The
only thing holding them back now is the OPS collective agreement.
The term classified positions,
three-year unclassified, control by a boss from a different ministry
or the private sector, and greater access to your personnel file are
on the employer’s bargaining agenda.
Forewarned is forearmed. We know what
they will be coming for in this round of bargaining.
And they don’t hold a majority at
the bargaining table.
This signals a tough round of
It won’t be easy to maintain the
integrity of the existing contract and make the gains you have
identified through demand setting. It is going to take work from
Protests and hearings produce two
The government made three changes to
the bill as a result of the hearings, two of which are small, but
important victories for OPS members. We won them as a result of the
Bill 25 protests and the hard work of all members who appeared at
1. The government narrowed down the
rights of private operators and contracted-out managers to dismiss
OPS members. Under the change, only a public servant may dismiss
with cause an OPS member. The private managers will still maintain
the right to transfer or discipline.
2. Private sector managers will
have only limited access to personal information. Your medical
information from a qualified medical practitioner can not be used.
The rest of the Bill 25 changes enabling the disclosure,
collection, and use of all other personal information across the
OPS is now possible.
A third change expands the Tories’
gift to the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA). Bill 25
gives the OPPA a one-time chance to try to organize OPSEU civilians
working at the OPP. Now, civilian instructors from the Ontario
Police College are added to the list.
The government is bent on destroying
the future of public services. Bill 25 gives them more options. Our
contract can restrict them.
Support your bargaining teams
Bill 25 has huge job security
implications for all OPS members.
Our collective agreement is our tool
to defend us against the Bill 25 changes. It’s even more important
than usual to support your bargaining teams.
The government tried to get some of
the changes Bill 25 permits into our last contract, but we fought
them off. We will have to do that again to get the contract that all
OPS members need and deserve.
OPS mobilizing plans start cooking
Mobilizing means preparing people for
action and moving into action.
We should have the OPS Service Area
Co-ordinating Groups up and running in September. We are developing
training and actions to support the bargaining team. The areas
groups will support local executive committees and bargaining
councils with local mobilizing.
Check with your team members, your
executive board members, or your local service reps for details.
More information will be available through Table Talk as the details
are hammered out in the coming weeks.
And there is always new information
on the OPSEU web page: http://www.opseu.org/ops/bargaining/index.htm
Region 1: Steve Nield, L. 123
Region 2: Marg Simmons, L. 263 (Chair)
Region 3: Laurie Chapman, L. 323
Region 4: Jeff Bendig, L. 434
Region 5: Teri Breau-Auzins, L. 506
Region 6: Serge Valcourt, L. 634
Region 7: Joseph Catroppa, L. 736
Administrative Category: Michel Chaumont, L. 623
Corrections Category: Mark Kotanen, L. 128 (Vice-Chair)
Institutional and Health Care Category: James Roland, L. 720
Office Administration Category: Sandra Noad, L. 101
Technical/Operational and Maintenance Category: Peter Wall, L. 638
Unclassified Workers: Darwin Lacelle, L. 447
Jack Hopkins, L. 122
Barry Scanlon, L. 230 (chair)
Larry Cripps, L. 309
Thomas James Bothwell, L. 467
Dave Graves, L. 521
Rick Dagenais, L. 642
Len Mason, L. 737
Get on the list!
To receive Table Talk by
e-mail or fax, send your e-mail
address to email@example.com or fax your fax number to L. Williams
at (416) 443-1762.
For more OPSEU information, check out
Attention all OPS stewards:
Getting an “A” Contract,
our OPS mobilization booklet, is now available at OPSEU Regional
Offices. Stop by and pick up copies for your Local Executive
Committee and Local Bargaining Council.
Produced by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 100 Lesmill Road, Toronto M3B 3P8.
Web: www.opseu.org; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman, president.