Human Rights should NOT be something we pay for!

Smokey Thomas put it best today !

Premier needs to ‘walk the talk’ on equal pay for equal work

Publication Date

Thursday, March 23, 2017 – 3:15pm

Toronto – The Premier of Ontario needs to clear up the confusion around how she views human rights, especially the right of workers to receive equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) says.

At a news conference today, Warren (Smokey) Thomas said a recent arbitration award at the LCBO that stripped certain collective agreement provisions to offset the cost of equal pay for equal work was “a blatant violation of the most basic principle of human rights.

“The whole point of human rights is that they are rights,” he said. “You don’t have to pay for them.”

Thomas said the recent arbitration award came after the LCBO put forward a list of concessions designed to cover the cost of providing equal pay to workers in the female-dominated casual Customer Service Representative classification.

“Equal pay is supposed to mean raising the bar for those not receiving fair wages, not lowering the standards and working conditions of their co-workers,” Thomas said. “This idea of horse-trading for rights seems to be what the LCBO thinks Premier Wynne is looking for. So we need to know: is LCBO management wrong, or did the Premier or her ministers direct them to find a way to make LCBO workers pay to have a human right recognized?

“Right now my members are confused about where the Premier actually stands.”

Thomas said LCBO workers are angry about the concessions and are looking at their options. “These workers will be in a legal strike position before long. If the LCBO pushes ahead with implementing this, we’ll be looking at every option open to us, up to and including withdrawing our work.”

OPSEU represents 7,500 workers at the Crown agency. Their collective agreement expires March 31, 2017.

“We’re just not accepting that in 2017 workers should have to trade away anything to get something as fundamental as paying women the same as men for doing the same job.”

Bargaining – 2016/2017 Updates

Day One of Bargaining – January 21, 2017

Day One of Bargaining

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Publication Date

Friday, December 16, 2016 – 4:15pm

Information for OPSEU members in the Liquor Board Employees Division – Issue #1 – December 19, 2016

Get ready to bargain!

This year was a busy one for OPSEU members at the LCBO. The New Year will be even busier!

The OPSEU Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED) has been hard at work in 2016, delivering a strong campaign against the privatization of our work. But as we turn the corner into 2017, it’s time to make way for contract negotiations between the LCBO and your OPSEU bargaining team. Our collective agreement expires on March 31, 2017.

“We’ve already spent months getting ready to bargain,” says Denise Davis, chair of the LBED bargaining team. “We’ve elected our bargaining team, we’ve set our demands, and we’ve started laying the foundation for our next contract.

“We are well under way, but this is just the beginning of a long journey.”

Human rights talks come first

Bargaining in this round will officially begin on February 20, 2017. But before it does, the LCBO and OPSEU must iron out the details of an historic agreement reached November 1 to settle a major human rights complaint.

As a result of that agreement, customer service representatives (CSRs) working as casuals in LCBO stores and depots will soon be placed on a new wage grid. This new grid will allow them to reach the same top pay rate earned by permanent part-time and permanent full-time CSRs. This settlement represents a huge victory for more than 4,000 casual CSRs.

In November, the parties agreed to several things:

  • All CSRs – casual, permanent part-time, and permanent full-time – will be on the same pay grid.
  • All the details of the new pay grid will be negotiated between OPSEU and the LCBO.
  • If OPSEU and the LCBO cannot agree, all outstanding issues will be decided by arbitrator William Kaplan, and his decisions will be legally binding on both parties.
  • No CSR will see her or his pay go down as a result of the settlement.

Negotiations are currently under way, and the outstanding issues will be decided before bargaining of the new collective agreement begins. The parties have agreed to a “blackout” on these talks. Neither of the LCBO and OPSEU will be releasing details until a final settlement is reached, either through negotiations or by order of the arbitrator.

For more details of the November 1 agreement, read our Q&A.

Bargaining kicks off February 20

So far, OPSEU and the LCBO have agreed to 17 dates for negotiations: February 20-24, March 6-10, April 3-5, and April 10-13.

The OPSEU bargaining team is optimistic about this round, says bargaining team Chair Denise Davis.

“This is our round,” she said. “The fight against Premier Wynne’s privatization agenda is sweeping across the province, and has been taken up by folks all over. And the progress we’ve already made on equal pay for equal work gives us more room to focus on other key issues like job security, wages, benefits, and hours of work.”

Meet your bargaining team

The OPSEU bargaining for the Liquor Board Employees Division consists of five members:

Denise Davis, Chair, Local 378

Colleen MacLeod, Vice-Chair, Local 5107

Jennifer van Zetten, Local 162

Robin Reath, Local 163

Mark Larocque, Local 499

The bargaining team is assisted by OPSEU Negotiator Jeff Weston, Researcher Steve Crossman, and other assigned staff.

Meet your mobilizers

OPSEU mobilizers are your co-workers at the LCBO. Their job is to help keep you informed of what happens at the bargaining table, and how you can support the bargaining team as they work to get you the best collective agreement possible. LBED members have elected mobilizers in each of the seven OPSEU regions:

Guy Jeremschuk, Local 162

Bonnie Jolley, Local 284

Tracy Vyfschaft, Local 377

Dianne Perry, Local 497

Craig Hadley, Local 5109

Amanda Pellerin, Local 682

Rob Mithrush, Local 741

Stay informed!

You can receive this bargaining bulletin (and our regular newsletter, the Echo) directly by e-mail. Just call OPSEU at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888, and give the operator your name and e-mail address. You can also watch for updates on the OPSEU website at www.opseu.org. And be sure to attend upcoming bargaining information meetings in your area.

EAP Hotline: 1-800-263-1401

The LCBO Employee Assistance Program is a confidential, hassle-free counseling service for eligible LCBO employees and their immediate families. For assistance, call 1-800-263-1401.

Your 2017 Bargaining Bulletin is authorized for distribution by:

Denise Davis, Chair, Liquor Board Employees Division

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, OPSEU

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November 5, 2017

There was a Final Demand set meeting at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. There were 3 Delegates (including the local president) that attended on behalf of our local.

The delegates are yet to share the information from the meeting with the local. There was information regarding the Provincial top ten bargaining demands for our next round of bargaining

Updated:December 16,2016

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On October 30, 2017, OPSEU called a General Membership Meeting. We are still waiting for minutes from the Local Secretary and Local President.

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Call out letter sent to all local Presidents September 17, 2017

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Demand Setting Fact Sheets

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The day the middle class died!!

I have to share this story. It is so true and really hits home for me.

Here is the link  written by Michael Moore

And here is the story….

From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, “When did this all begin, America’s downward slide?” They say they’ve heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent’s income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how “lowly” your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who’d defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.

Young people have heard of this mythical time — but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, “When did this all end?”, I say, “It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981.”

Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to “go for it” — to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.

And they’ve succeeded.

On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who’d defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.

It was a bold and brash move. No one had ever tried it. What made it even bolder was that PATCO was one of only two unions that had endorsed Reagan for president! It sent a shock wave through workers across the country. If he would do this to the people who were with him, what would he do to us?

Reagan had been backed by Wall Street in his run for the White House and they, along with right-wing Christians, wanted to restructure America and turn back the tide that President Franklin D. Roosevelt started — a tide that was intended to make life better for the average working person. The rich hated paying better wages and providing benefits. They hated paying taxes even more. And they despised unions. The right-wing Christians hated anything that sounded like socialism or holding out a helping hand to minorities or women.

Reagan promised to end all that. So when the air traffic controllers went on strike, he seized the moment. In getting rid of every single last one of them and outlawing their union, he sent a clear and strong message: The days of everyone having a comfortable middle class life were over. America, from now on, would be run this way:

* The super-rich will make more, much much more, and the rest of you will scramble for the crumbs that are left.

* Everyone must work! Mom, Dad, the teenagers in the house! Dad, you work a second job! Kids, here’s your latch-key! Your parents might be home in time to put you to bed.

* 50 million of you must go without health insurance! And health insurance companies: you go ahead and decide who you want to help — or not.

* Unions are evil! You will not belong to a union! You do not need an advocate! Shut up and get back to work! No, you can’t leave now, we’re not done. Your kids can make their own dinner.

* You want to go to college? No problem — just sign here and be in hock to a bank for the next 20 years!

* What’s “a raise”? Get back to work and shut up!

And so it went. But Reagan could not have pulled this off by himself in 1981. He had some big help:

The AFL-CIO.

The biggest organization of unions in America told its members to cross the picket lines of the air traffic controllers and go to work. And that’s just what these union members did. Union pilots, flight attendants, delivery truck drivers, baggage handlers — they all crossed the line and helped to break the strike. And union members of all stripes crossed the picket lines and continued to fly.

Reagan and Wall Street could not believe their eyes! Hundreds of thousands of working people and union members endorsing the firing of fellow union members. It was Christmas in August for Corporate America.

And that was the beginning of the end. Reagan and the Republicans knew they could get away with anything — and they did. They slashed taxes on the rich. They made it harder for you to start a union at your workplace. They eliminated safety regulations on the job. They ignored the monopoly laws and allowed thousands of companies to merge or be bought out and closed down. Corporations froze wages and threatened to move overseas if the workers didn’t accept lower pay and less benefits. And when the workers agreed to work for less, they moved the jobs overseas anyway.

And at every step along the way, the majority of Americans went along with this. There was little opposition or fight-back. The “masses” did not rise up and protect their jobs, their homes, their schools (which used to be the best in the world). They just accepted their fate and took the beating.

I have often wondered what would have happened had we all just stopped flying, period, back in 1981. What if all the unions had said to Reagan, “Give those controllers their jobs back or we’re shutting the country down!”? You know what would have happened. The corporate elite and their boy Reagan would have buckled.

But we didn’t do it. And so, bit by bit, piece by piece, in the ensuing 30 years, those in power have destroyed the middle class of our country and, in turn, have wrecked the future for our young people. Wages have remained stagnant for 30 years. Take a look at the statistics and you can see that every decline we’re now suffering with had it’s beginning in 1981 (here’s a little scene to illustrate that from my last movie).

It all began on this day, 30 years ago. One of the darkest days in American history. And we let it happen to us. Yes, they had the money, and the media and the cops. But we had 200 million of us. Ever wonder what it would look like if 200 million got truly upset and wanted their country, their life, their job, their weekend, their time with their kids back?

Have we all just given up? What are we waiting for? Forget about the 20% who support the Tea Party — we are the other 80%! This decline will only end when we demand it. And not through an online petition or a tweet. We are going to have to turn the TV and the computer and the video games off and get out in the streets (like they’ve done in Wisconsin). Some of you need to run for local office next year. We need to demand that the Democrats either get a spine and stop taking corporate money — or step aside.

When is enough, enough? The middle class dream will not just magically reappear. Wall Street’s plan is clear: America is to be a nation of Haves and Have Nothings. Is that OK for you?

Why not use today to pause and think about the little steps you can take to turn this around in your neighborhood, at your workplace, in your school? Is there any better day to start than today?

P.S. Here are a few places you can connect with to get the ball rolling:

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In Solidarity

Maria Bauer

Congratulations!

I just wanted to thank everyone for taking time on their Sunday to attend the General Membership meeting. We had record numbers in attendance.

The local has a whole new executive and 10 stewards.

It has been an honor and privilege to be your local president for the past four years.

I am still a steward and will continue to represent members. You may still contact me on my cell phone and via email anytime.

This website will be going through some revisions and some pages may not be available until the revisions are completed. Andew Scholarship 2016

In Solidarity,

Maria Bauer

Union Busting

Even though we already have a union,  many of the tactics below are being used daily. Please read the article below carefully and recognize what is going on in your workplace and union functions. They put the workers against each other with the old theory of

” divide and conquer”.

 

What to Expect from your Employer when you Organize

What will my Employer do?

Most employers don’t want their employees to be in a union. Think about it: employers go from having total control to having to share power with workers who stand together. From their perspective, organized workers will cost more money and require that they follow a legally-binding contract, when before they could do it however they wanted.

Usually when employees show interest in organizing a Union, the company responds with an anti-union program. They may begin group meetings to try to scare workers out of signing authorization cards or talking to union representatives. They may also start a “nice” campaign and suddenly become interested in workplace problems and even offer “quick fix” solutions, like raises or improved benefits. Where does their new found concern come from? Their only hope is to discourage you from Union representation.

Prepare yourself!
If you and your co-workers know WHAT TO EXPECT, the employer’s tactics will shine through as what they really are: desperate attempts to keep things the way they are by trying to crush the power of workers unified in the workplace.

Employers will often hire union-busting firms who specialize in scaring workers with misinformation and fear tactics. Here’s what they’ll tell your employer to do. If you anticipate these actions and talk with your co-workers about them before they happen, the employer’s power to scare workers is significantly less.

Union-busting: What’s Legal and What’s Not 
Employers can legally run anti-union campaigns, but there are some things they CANNOT do (see Illegal Employer Behaviors). If your employer takes part in these activities, the union can file an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

Most employers rely on union-busting consultants to run a campaign to convince you not to form a union. These consultants have a standard “playbook” of tactics they pull out and run time and again. These include:

LETTERS, LETTERS AND MORE LETTERS: The “Union Busters” will write lots of letters during the campaign. Only, they will be signed not by the “Union busters,” but by the company president, facility/company administrators and some well-liked managers and supervisors.

LOVE LETTERSSome letters will say how much the management/administration really appreciates the work employees have done for the facility/company. Some might even admit past mistakes.

THE UGLY UNION LETTERS: Most of the letters will paint an ugly picture of the Union. They want you to think the Union has a lot to hide. They will never give the Union credit for anything it has achieved at other facilities.

SUPERVISOR PRESSURE: The “Union busters” will use supervisors as the front line troops against the Union — delivering letters, informal chats and even speeches prepared by the “Union busters.”

LOVE OFFERINGS: The “Union busters” will tell management to hand out larger than expected wage increases and/or improved benefits. They might even restore lost health insurance benefits, wages, differentials, etc. They might establish or revise employee participation committees. They want to show you that you don’t need a Union to get things done. The point is to convince you that the boss is really a good guy who can be trusted in the future.

A HELPING HAND: The “Union busters” will tell the facility to start correcting problems: Big things and nagging little things will now be fixed. Management will solicit and settle grievances.

LET’S BE PALS: Administrators/Supervisors will be everywhere, walking the floors day and night, setting up spur-of-the-moment meetings so that they can fix what’s on your mind. You might even be invited to lunch!

ONE-ON-ONES: The “Union busters” will have supervisors call employees in for face-to-face discussions about the Union. The supervisors will have been told exactly what to say by the “Union busters.”

MANDATORY MEETINGS: Employees will be required – on paid time while your normal work is piling up – to attend meetings where the administrators/Managers will deliver a speech prepared by the “Union busters.” These meetings will not be intended to be a free and open debate.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER: The “Union busters” will try to play one group of employees against another – “disloyal” Union supporters against “loyal pro-company” Union opponents. One department against another, men versus women, etc.

“VOTE NO” COMMITTEE: A committee of concerned employees might be set up to “stand up for” the facility and “against the bullying” tactics of the Union. The committee members will want to save the facility/company from the Union and give management another chance.

SO LONG, IT’S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YOU: If all else fails, the administrators, personnel director or some other big management type will be forced to resign or be fired. Then, the facility will try to persuade you to give the new administrator/Manager “another chance” to make things better.

Don’t be fooled by these “Union Busting” tactics.
Having a Union at work is YOUR RIGHT!

The definition of “divide and conquer”

Also, divide and govern or rule. Win by getting one’s opponents to fight among themselves. For example, Divide and conquer was once a very successful policy in sub-Saharan Africa. This expression is a translation of the Latin maxim, Divide et impera (“divide and rule”), and began to appear in English about 1600.