article shared by RVP Sara Labelle )MUSKOKA – A gathering of Ontario Public Service Employees Union members held an information picket in front the Bracebridge courthouse Thursday afternoon, over what the union calls is the government’s refusal to bargain a fair collective agreement.
“We are raising awareness of our Ontario Public Service bargaining that is happening right now,” said Andrew Parker, a Penetang corrections officer who has been seconded by OPSEU to help organize information pickets across the province. “The proposal from the Wynne government came out on Nov. 20. We have been bargaining for six months and all of the concessions they have put on the table are still on the table … there has been absolutely zero movement.”
The bargaining between the Ontario government and OPSEU, which represents 35,000 workers, has reached an impasse, according to the union.
OPSEU’s previous contract has expired and the government has refused to back down from its concessionary demands despite a 90 percent strike vote from OPSEU members, the union has stated.
According to OPSEU, the government wants wage freezes and a new twelve step wage grid that will see new hires come in five per cent below their current starting position, and all positions on the wage grid rolled back except for those at the very top of it.
The Liberals also want to make it easier for the government to contract out services and implement layoffs. On top of this the government is looking to strip away a variety of benefits, especially for sick and injured workers, the union claims.