Rally at Queens Park Tuesday 17 Feb 2015

Bus Pick-up at 5:30 am at the Oshawa GO Station North East Corner by the Dodge Dealership.   Back by 10amRallynotice

Issue Sheet # 8 Multi Tiered Drug Plan

2014-10-en_ops-bargaining_we-can-do-it_featured-image_cAccess to an affordable drug plan is something that most members of the OPS take for granted. Use of the drug plan ranges from a little to a lot, depending on individual and/or family circumstances. For some, the drug plan is a literal life saver…the cost of many acute or chronic illness medications could bankrupt you within weeks, and then you would have to simply go without.

Currently, when you take a prescription to the pharmacist, the pharmacy is reimbursed 90 per cent of the prescription. You pay the remaining 10 per cent after $3 is deducted.

Now, the employer has proposed to replace our current insured drug plan with a “tiered drug formulary.”

What this means: A tiered drug formulary means that all prescription drugs would be on three separate levels (called “tiers”). How much money you are reimbursed would be based on what tier the drug is on.

One example of how prescriptions would be reimbursed is on a three-tier system. Drugs on Tier 1 would be reimbursed 80 per cent. On Tier 2, 50 per cent. And on Tier 3, 20 per cent. You pay for the remaining per cent of the prescription.

Also under this plan, you would be required to go back to your doctor to change your prescriptions based on their tiered costs, even though your doctor will have prescribed particular drugs based on your medical needs. To add insult to injury, the union would have NO ability to challenge which drug is on which tier.

Members will have to request an exception form be filled out by your doctor for each drug that is not fully reimbursed at the highest level. If the insurer says no again, you will have to appeal.  This can result in numerous appeals…and numerous delays.

Who decides which drugs go on which tier?  A third-party consultant, who has no medical background (and whose commission is based on dollar savings), will regularly decide the percent reimbursed for the drugs your doctor prescribes. Often, higher-cost drugs for chronic illnesses can be placed on Tiers 2 and 3, which could cost you thousands of dollars.

The employer claims that they will save millions, but we don’t believe that. Our current plan already reimburses prescription costs based on the equivalent generic drug. So why would we agree to make such a massive change to our drug plan for no reason?

Please continue to support your Bargaining Teams!

Authorized by:

Roxanne Barnes, Chair, Central/Unified Team

Tom O’Neill, Chair, Corrections Team

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President

Issue Sheet #7 The 5 per cent lower start rate: The ‘Race to the Bottom’ begins


Many current OPS employees feel that the employer’s proposal for a new lower start rate doesn’t really affect them. If you are a permanent, full-time member, at the top of your wage grid, and never plan on applying for a new job or classification, then you are correct.


For everyone else in the OPS, the effects are profound.

If you are in the middle of the grid, then the employer’s entire 12 step proposal is all based on that lower start rate, dragging down your increases. If you get a new job or classification, you start at the bottom step all over again. If you are converted from fixed-term (FXT) to permanent, the employer says you are a “new hire”…and you start at the lowest step even if you were higher on the grid previously. The union has asked for a definition of a “new hire,” but the employer is opposed, of course, to providing this.

Lastly, if you are new to the OPS…well, get used to the fact that the employer has decided that younger employees are worth less than older employees in this new economy. The income gap between the older and younger workers keeps growing. According to Conference Board of Canada, from 1984 to 2010 the average disposable income of Canadians aged 50-54 has grown compared to those 25-29 years of age. The gap, which was 47 per cent between these two groups in the mid-1980s, is now 64 per cent.


This employer’s proposal to reduce your salary grid by another 5 per cent will only increase the divide.  Rather than show leadership and reverse this trend, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals want to hurt young workers even further. 


Now is the time to protect ALL workers in the OPS…even those who will follow us into the public service one day. Those workers will be our future, and the future of the services we all rely upon.


Please continue to support your Bargaining Teams! 


Original authorized for distribution:

Roxanne Barnes, Chair, Central/Unified Team

Tom O’Neill, Chair, Corrections Team

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President

Issue Sheet #5 Get hurt at work? You’ll pay for it

More pain for the injured:2014-10-en_ops-bargaining_we-can-do-it_featured-image_c


The Ontario Government has mandatory laws to protect injured workers in the province. In many OPS jobs, getting hurt at work is more than a rare occurrence…for some it can be a daily fact of life.


However the same employer that put these laws in place wants to penalize their workers if they are injured and file a WSIB claim.


Currently, if you are off work due to a workplace injury or occupational disease and receive an award from WSIB, you receive 85 per cent of your salary, with the employer topping up to 100 per cent for the first sixty-five (65) days. After that, you can top up with vacation credits or CTO time if you are given an award lower than your current salary.


The employer doesn’t want to do this anymore. Not only does the employer want to pay just the 85 per cent with no top up, they want to eliminate your ability to use credits to top up your wages. To add the icing to the cake, they also want to eliminate the ability to accumulate vacation credits while on WSIB.


The bottom line: No one goes to work planning to get injured, or to suffer from a disease caused by their job. This is a traumatic event in your life, and to help you through it, your employer seems intent on cutting your pay and making your life even worse. This is more than a benefits cut – this is a slap in the face for every OPS member who has been injured physically or mentally while trying to provide vital services to the people of Ontario.


Please continue to support your Bargaining Teams.


Original authorized for distribution:

Roxanne Barnes, Chair, Central/Unified Team

Tom O’Neill, Chair, Corrections Team

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President

OPS Issue Sheet #6 – Mandatory Rehabilitation: Go back to work…or else

OPS Issue Sheet #6 – Mandatory Rehabilitation: Go back to work…or else2014-10-en_ops-bargaining_we-can-do-it_featured-image_c

Publication Date:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 – 3:30pm

Download this Issue Sheet

The language: Enhance the return to work of individuals on STSP and LTIP with a mandatory rehabilitation plan.

Under the employer’s proposals, they have tabled language that has one purpose and one purpose only: To get employees who are on Short Term Sickness Plan (STSP) or Long Term Income Protection (LTIP) back to work as quickly as possible…whether you are able to or not.

The employer wants to absolve themselves from your needs by using management-directed Comprehensive Vocational Assessments (CVA) or have their insurance company recommend Return to Work and Workplace Accommodation plan.

To enforce this, the employer has also proposed that if you are unable to follow the recommendations of the CVA or insurance company’s rehabilitation plan, you will be cut off of your benefits.

All the employer cares about is costs, so it is in their best interest to get you off the benefits they provide. They won’t be interested in designing a Return to Work or Accommodation plan that will actually work for you. In fact, this plan could even be contrary to what your doctor has ordered. There would be no ability to protect your personal medical information, since everything would go to the government case coordinator or the insurance company. To make matters worse, the insurance company can recommend a Workplace Accommodation Plan for work outside of the OPS.

This draconian measure reinforces this government’s overall plan to harm any employee who is sick, injured or, through no fault of their own, unable to come to work. Long-fought-for protections in the collective agreement are being stripped away by an employer who simply doesn’t care about the well-being of those who work for them.

The employer is trying to put into the collective agreement what they have put in their new disability management policies. The union has already filed a policy grievance on this. We made it very clear to the employer that we don’t agree with their new policies and we certainly can’t agree to entrench this malicious policy into our collective agreement.

As employees, we all hope we never have to access these benefits. For those who may, or already do, this proposal will be an additional nightmare to have to live with.

Please continue to support your Bargaining Teams.

Authorized by:

Roxanne Barnes, Chair, Central/Unified Team

Tom O’Neill, Chair, Corrections Team

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President

Liberals have a 12 step program for Corrections

(This Issue Sheet contains specific information on the employer-proposed wage grid for the Corrections Bargaining Unit)

The 12 Step Wage Grid – Corrections Bargaining Unit:2014-10-en_ops-bargaining_we-can-do-it_featured-image_c

LESS cash…for life

The employer proposal for a 12 step wage grid, which would replace the current wage grid structure, will have a massive long-term impact on your earnings. With a new start rate of five per cent BELOW the current start rate,(a newly hired Correctional Officer’s start rate would be $22.82) it may mean that  the newly  hired Correctional Officer 1 could take up to a minimum of 16 years to reach the top wage of the Correctional Officer 2 wage grid. This proposalis not only a punishment for new workers but also any member who changes careers within the OPS. Any employee moving to a new classification would start as a “new hire” at the start rate of their new classification and take additional 11 years to reach the top of the grid.

The reality is that over the span of the 12 steps, employees could lose almost one whole year of earnings. The employer’s proposal is clearly a wage claw back!

Based on the examples of the new grids provided by the employer, here’s an example of what can happen to three positions – a Correctional Officer 2, a Youth Worker and a Probation Officer 2. A new Correctional Officer 2 or Youth Worker would lose more than $64,000 and a Probation Officer 2 would lose more than $53,000 over the 11 years of the new grid. This would also reduce the value of an employee’s pension. Additionally, FXT PPOs and POs who are already progressing through the PO2 wage grid would be dropped back to the lowest PO2 start rate upon being hired into a full time position.

The biggest hits on employees in this proposal actually occur in the middle of the grid where a Correctional Officer and Youth Worker would lose nearly $10,000 in a single year at Step 6. Similarly the Probation Officer would lose over $8,500 in just one year at Step 7. No other Correctional Service or Law Enforcement agency in Canada has a 12 step wage grid. Why should we be any different?

This concession goes far beyond the proposed length of the contract. It will hurt you now, and keep hurting you for life.

The bottom line: If you are at any place in the grid other than the top, you suffer. If you are planning a change in your career, you suffer. If you are converted to full time, or just started your career, you really suffer.

The numbers:

Hourly earnings for a Correctional Officer and Youth Worker:

Step 1 – $24.52 instead of $25.81

Step 2 – $25.17 instead of $26.61

Step 3 – $25.83 instead of $28.69

Step 4 – $26.51 instead of $30.28

Step 5 – $27.21 instead of $31.73

Step 6 – $27.92 instead of $32.64

Step 7 – $28.66 instead of $32.64

Step 8 – $29.42 instead of $32.64

Step 9 – $30.19 instead of $32.64

Step 10 – $30.99 instead of $32.64

Step 11 – $31.80 instead of $32.64

Step 12 – the current maximum of $32.64

Weekly earnings for a Probation Officer 2:

Step 1 – $1,124.00 instead of $1,183.16

Step 2 – $1,151.21 instead of $1,219.75

Step 3 – $1,179.07 instead of $1,258.58

Step 4 – $1,207.61 instead of $1,298.60

Step 5 – $1,236.84 instead of $1,340.99

Step 6 – $1,266.77 instead of $1,385.67

Step 7 – $1,297.43 instead of $1,462.23

Step 8 – $1,328.83 instead of $1,462.23

Step 9 – $1,361.00 instead of $1,462.23

Step 10 – $1,393.94 instead of $1,462.23

Step 11 – $1,427.68 instead of $1,462.23

Step 12 – the current maximum of $1,462.23

Original authorized for distribution:


Tom O’Neill, Chair, Corrections Team

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President

OPS Issue Sheet #4 LTIP Takeaway

BETTER STAY HEALTHY BECAUSE THIS TAKEAWAY IS REALLY BAD!!2014-10-en_ops-bargaining_we-can-do-it_featured-image_c

OPS Issue Sheet #4: LTIP takeaways – Cuts when you can least afford it

Publication Date:

Thursday, January 15, 2015 – 7:30pm

[http://www.opseu.org/modules/file/icons/application-pdf.png]Download this Issue Sheet

The language:

a) LTIP benefits to be increased to 70% from 66 2/3%, and

b) Employees to pay the employee portion of pension contributions including when supplementing a WSIB Award, and

c) Pension contributions and pension credits to be based on LTIP earnings, and

d) LTIP benefits and coverage cease when an employee reaches their earliest unreduced pension (i.e. Factor 90, 60/20 and age sixty-five (65)), and

e) LTIP benefits to be calculated at the date of disability, and

f) LTIP qualifying period moved up to 17 weeks from 26 weeks with a corresponding adjustment to Short Term Sickness Plan (STSP) credits available after the initial six days from 120 to 79

Yes, the Employer has offered to increase the LTIP benefits from the current 66 2/3 per cent to 70 per cent.

But only if we agree to all the other takeaways on sick leave!

Currently the Employer pays both the employee and employer portion of the pension contributions while you are on LTIP. But now they want you to pay the employee portion as well as pension contributions would be based on your LTIP earnings.

Despite the employer’s proposed increase of LTIP benefits to 70 per cent, you would still see an overall decrease of 4.9 per cent in your monthly LTIP income and forever have your pension entitlements reduced.

Even further, if you are on LTIP the employer wants to force you into taking early retirement if you reach your 90 factor or 60/20 factor before age 65. This would reduce your years of service and reduce your pension upon retirement.

Moving the LTIP qualifying period up to 17 weeks from the current 26 weeks makes no sense. Right now, it takes about three months to go through the process of applying for LTIP. With this proposed change, you would have to start the ball rolling about a month after you start your short term sick leave, even if you don’t know for certain if you will even need LTIP. It’s a waste of time and effort for everybody.

This is nothing more than an attack on our most vulnerable members. Please continue to support your Bargaining Teams as we fight off these dangerous and costly concessions.

Authorized by:

Roxanne Barnes, Chair, Central/Unified Team

Tom O’Neill, Chair, Corrections Team

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President

Two more years… of ZERO?


Wage freeze continues:

At least two more years…of ZERO

When it comes to a long-overdue pay increase for members of the OPS, the employer maintains there is NO money. Despite two years of wage freezes (which is a pay CUT due to the increase in inflation) they want you go another two years with zero.

Apparently, there is no money for OPS workers who provide valuable public services, workers that are proven to do the work better, and cheaper, than the private sector. Yet this same employer, the Ontario Government, continues to find billions of dollars for the Pan AM Games overruns, gas plants, Ornge Air Ambulance, MaRS, SAMS, IT consultants, annual tax cuts for private corporations, and private/public partnerships. The total cost to taxpayers for these scandals? Approximately $15 billion dollars…and climbing. Not only have your tax dollars been wasted, the same government wants you to pay for their mismanagement through your wages.

In effect, the employer’s message at the bargaining table is that you are worth nothing; not worth a raise, and not worth the benefits you already have as they try to cut those as well.

Two more years of zeroes is just the start. Those two years will turn into four years of zeroes unless you want to trade it for something else that has been gained in previous rounds of bargaining.

A zero per cent increase goes far beyond a pay cut right now. Like the 12 step pay grid, this is money that is lost forever. It affects your pension, and you will receive a lower pension benefit. You will have less money to pay for food, your mortgage, gas or any extra-curricular activities for you children. Every OPS member is already behind thanks to years of below average increases…and the last two years of receiving nothing.

If you believe you are worth more than zero (or more accurately, more than less than zero), it’s time to stand up, make noise, and support your Bargaining Teams!

Original authorized for distribution:

Roxanne Barnes
, Chair, Central/Unified Team

Tom O’Neill, Chair, Corrections Team

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President

Tabletalk January 9 2015


Download this issue

Something has to change…and quickly

Your Central/Unified and Corrections Bargaining Teams resumed negotiations with the employer this week with the intent of moving closer to reaching a new OPS Collective Agreement.

It would appear, however, that the employer has a different plan.

From what we have experienced this week, our message to you is simple, and very clear.

As of right now, unless there is a complete reversal in the employer’s position, the OPS will be on strike.

The employer will NOT move off the “net zero” monetary position they tabled on Nov. 20 (whereas any money saved can be applied to increases). In fact, it has gotten even worse. Now, the employer’s position is that even if cost savings are achieved, there will be no increases to wages for the first two years. You are getting ZERO. This runs completely contradictory to what the Ontario Premier is trying to sell to the public.

Your teams are at the table, and we are meeting with the other side. However, these meetings are NOT producing any results. The employer remains steadfast that they will not change their bargaining position. They are intent on slashing your wages, your drug plan, LTIP entitlements, and termination pay, among a host of others.

Something has to change…and quickly. That change starts with you.

Your teams need power at the table. We need something to happen to change the employer’s position, and attitude. We need as much action as possible to avert what will likely be a very nasty labour dispute.

This Sunday, OPSEU will protest Premier Kathleen Wynne’s New Year’s Levee. Over the next week, OPS locals will be asked to hold as many demonstrations, information pickets and worksite actions as possible. We must be loud, disruptive and highly visible. It’s time to change the game, and the only ones who can do that are the members of OPS.

This week, OPS Strike Manuals were sent out. By preparing for a strike, we are also showing the employer that we are ready to back our contract demands, and our strike vote is real. Locals are urged to start preparing now, if they haven’t already done so. This will also help at the bargaining tables.

Your teams need you now more than ever. Every member needs to step up, speak up and rise up. It’s better to do it now, than on a picket line.

Issue sheets coming next week

Starting this Monday, the teams will continually send out single page Issue Sheets explain the drastic impacts the employer’s proposals will have on every OPS member. Contrary to some opinions out there, not one member of the OPS will be spared by the employer’s proposals for the new contract.

Watch your email and the OPSEU website for these bulletins. If you are not receiving emails, contact OPSEU and update your contact information. You can’t afford to be left out.

Stay tuned 

OPSEU Communications will send out bargaining bulletins with updated information during OPS negotiations.

Stay informed, get involved, and show your solidarity. Together we will get a fair and decent contract!!

Don’t listen to rumours! TableTalk Update is your only official communication from the OPS Bargaining Teams.

Your OPS Bargaining teams

Central/Unified Team

Roxanne Barnes, CERC (Chair)

Ron Langer, Region 1 (Vice Chair)

Elaine Young, Region 2

Betty Marchegiano, Region 3

Dylan Lineger, Region 4

Dennis Wilson, Region 5

Beth Anich, Region 6

John Watson, Region 7

Mickey Riccardi, Administration

Glenna Caldwell, Corrections

Cindy Falcao, Institutional and Health Care

Tim Elphick, Office Administration

Johanne Bourgeois, Office Administration

John Berry, Operational and Maintenance/Technical

Steve Anderson, Fixed Term

Ruth Hamilton, Staff Negotiator

Corrections Team

John McLaren, Region 1

Dan Sidsworth, Region 2

Gord Longhi, Region 3 (Vice-Chair)

Tom O’Neill, Region 4 (Chair)

Monte Vieselmeyer, Region 5

Scott McIntyre, Region 6

Barb Friday, Region 7

Anastasios Zafiriadis, Staff Negotiator

Original authorized for distribution:

Roxanne Barnes, Chair

Central/Unified Team

Tom O’Neill, Chair

Corrections Team

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President

Ontario Public Service Employees Union

Contact us:

Central/Unified Team


Corrections Team


www.opseu.org       www.sefpo.org