OPSEU/SEFPO’s hearts go out to the families of the victims of the Buffalo shootings

OPSEU/SEFPO’s condolences go out to the families of the victims of the latest deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.

On Saturday, ten innocent Black lives were targeted in broad daylight inside a supermarket. Another three people were injured. This was a racially motivated act of terror and needs to be named for what it is: white supremacy.

The shooter reportedly spoke of the same racist, white supremacist agenda heard from those responsible for the fatal shootings in New Zealand and Quebec.

These acts of violence are not new or isolated. Black people in the United States, and across North America, continue to fight for their basic human rights.  These acts of violent extremism are attempts to instill fear and break the spirit of the Black community. This was a deliberate act and it sought to harm and kill Black people in a community with a high percentage of Black members. This isn’t just gun violence; this is anti-Black racism.

These shootings are an urgent reminder that more must be done to address the continued rise of white supremacy. Hate crimes, acts of violence and hate speech continue to grow at a rapid speed across North America, including in Ontario.

There are daily encounters where Black families, Black children, Black women and men continue to be targeted for the colour of their skin. This is a vicious cycle of violence and hatred that continues to repeat itself. White supremacy has no place in our workplaces, unions, schools or communities. It’s not enough to denounce it, we must act to stop it in its tracks.  OPSEU/SEFPO joins the Black community across this province and nation as allies in support of this necessary work.

OPSEU/SEFPO is committed to dismantling anti-Black racism and to do the work to become an anti-racist union. OPSEU/SEFPO offices have lowered their flags to half-mast as a sign of solidarity and respect to the victims and their families. Today and always, Black Lives Matter.

In solidarity,

JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Laurie Nancekivell, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer
Peter Thompson, OPSEU/SEFPO Coalition of Racialized Workers, Chair

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Region 5 Dismantling Anti-Black Racism May 24, 25 & 26, 2022

April 25, 2022

To: Region 5 Local Presidents, L.E.C.s, and E.B.M.s
From: Region 5 Education Committee

DISMANTLING ANTI-BLACK RACISM

The 1.5 day Dismantling Anti-Black Racism course, provided over three evening sessions, will raise awareness, provide a better understanding, and include strategies to dismantle anti-Black racism (ABR). It explores the topics of what anti-Black racism is and provides Black history highlights for a deeper understanding of the history of slavery and its impacts today. The course addresses the need to confront white supremacy. Participants will understand how colonization and the socially constructed concept of race has affected Black people. Additionally, the course highlights past, present and future efforts to address anti-Black racism in the workplace and in OPSEU/SEFPO.

LOCATION: Virtually on Zoom (a link will be provided to all participants in advance of class)

We are pleased to offer the following session:
DATES: This course will run three consecutive evenings:
May 24, 25 & 26, 2022 from 6:00 pm – 9:15 pm

Download the application form and download the Human Rights Accommodation form.

·       The Participant and Course Selection Process
will be carried out in accordance with OPSEU/SEFPO Education Policy.

·       When registering, participants MUST confirm that
they have their own computer with proper internet connections (training can NOT
be completed over a cell phone).The computer must have a camera which remains
‘on’ during the training.

·       This virtual training is being delivered via
http://www.Zoom.us and participants must download the free Zoom software in advance of
the training.

·       Confirmation will be sent to applicants who are
accepted.

·       As this meeting is being held virtually, no
expenses outside of Family/Care Attendants claims (if required) will be
reimbursed except in special circumstances where expenses have been
pre-approved.

·       To inquire further about pre-approval, please
email OPSEURegion5EBMs@gmail.com

·       Lost Wages will not be provided for this
Educational. 

As a reminder in accordance with OPSEU/SEFPO policy, full Attendance is mandatory for participants at the educational. If you are unable to attend with Full Attendance without an acceptable reason, you will not receive credit for the course and your expenses (if any) may not be
paid.

 

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Arbitrator Dismisses the Grievance Against Canada Post’s Mandatory Vaccination Practice

This article is by the Canadian Union of Posta Workers. Read the original version on the CUPW website.

Thursday April 28 2022

2019-2023/362

On Thursday, April 28, Arbitrator Joliffe rendered his decision on CUPW’s National Grievance against Canada Post’s mandatory vaccination practice. The Arbitrator ruled against CUPW and dismissed the national grievance.

In his decision, which we are currently analyzing, the Arbitrator expressed that CPC’s vaccination practice “has been and continues to be a reasonable exercise of management rights and responsibilities under the collective agreement and pursuant to its obligations under the Canada Labour Code.”

In his decision, Arbitrator Joliffe noted that the Union, in exercising our representational responsibilities, was never in agreement with the practice in its current form.

This isn’t the outcome we wanted. We recognize that members will continue to face hardships due to the practice and we will continue to represent their interests as best we can in the current context. We will now take the time to analyze the decision in detail before deciding our next steps, which we will communicate with members.

Members can read the decision in its entirety in English at: https://www.cupw.ca/en/campaign/resources/arbitration-award-%E2%80%93-mandatory-vaccination-process-%E2%80%93-national-grievance-n00-20.

To make sure you’re getting the latest communications, please follow us on Twitter and on Facebook, and subscribe to our eDigest.

In Solidarity,

Carl Girouard

Dirigeant national des griefs

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May 1 – Join GTAC & OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick at these Important Labour/Community Events

Please see below for info on these important events:
MAY 1 – Join OPSEU/SEFPO & the OFL to Speak Up for Good Jobs, Worker’s Rights, Public Services and Strong Communities 12 PM – Toronto May Day Rally & Feeder March to Queen’s Park 2 PM – OFL Queen’s Park Rally for a Workers-First Agenda

MAY 14 – Build the Fight for Climate Justice & the Environment 1 PM – Emergency in Ontario: Rally & March for Climate, Communities & Nature SAVE Our Community Courthouses

Send an email to support the campaign to keep the community courts in Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke open!

SAVE THE DATE – MAY 18 – GTAC Delegates & Activists Meeting Panel Discussion: Climate Justice, the Environmental Crisis and the Ontario Elections – What’s at Stake for Working People

Please share this information with your OPSEU Region 5 networks.
MAY 1 – Join GTAC & OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick at these Important Labour/Community Events

1) Toronto May Day Rally & Feeder March – 12 noon
Join OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick and labour & community activists from across Toronto to celebrate labour solidarity, build the campaign for workers’ rights, good jobs for all, social & climate justice and an end to cut backs and austerity… and join the feeder march to the OFL/Justice for Workers Mass Rally at Queen’s Park
When: Sunday, May 1, 12 noon
Where: Toronto City Hall/Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W. at Bay St (Queen Subway)
March: Starts at 1:30 pm, arrives at Queen’s Park at 2 pm
Download the OPSEU flyer & share with your local
OPSEU Meet-Up: Join us at 11:45 am inside Nathan Phillips Sq., east side, beside the large ramp up to the City Hall rooftop garden (see site map).
– Bring your OPSEU flags and noisemakers!
– Join, like and share the Facebook event
Volunteers Needed: Please let us know in advance if you can help with
I) Sign-Making Team – Sat. April 30, 2pm, 31 Wellesley St. (materials provided)
II) OPSEU Set Up & Marshaling – Sun. May 1, 11:30 am, Nathan Phillips Square, east side.
Please email us at gtac@opseugtac.ca to confirm if you can help on either or both days. Please include your name, local number, personal email and cell #.

——————–

2) OFL/Justice for Workers Mass Rally for a Workers-First Agenda – 2 pm
May 1 is the traditional day when working people rally to build solidarity and commit to the fight for a better future for all. It’s also just one month before Ontario’s June 2 election!
That’s why the Ontario Federation of Labour and Justice for Workers have declared May 1 a Provincewide Day of Acton for a Better Ontario. It’s time to ramp up our campaign for worker’s rights, decent work, a $20 minimum wage, affordable housing, well-funded public services, climate justice, and an end to racism and oppression.
When: Sunday, May 1, 2 pm
Where: Queen’s Park, South Lawn at College St & University Ave (Queen’s Park Subway)
– Bring your OPSEU flags, signs and noisemakers!
– Join, like and share the Facebook event
– For info on the Toronto rally, flyers & graphics: https://ofl.ca/event/may-1-toronto/
– For info on events in communities across Ontario: https://ofl.ca/event/may-1/
 
MAY 14 – Emergency in Ontario: Rally & March for Climate Justice, Communities & Nature – May 14, 1 pm

Join GTAC, Climate Voice, Environmental Defence, and a broad coalition of environmental, labour & community organizations for a mass rally to demand climate justice, and defend nature, the environment and healthy, sustainable communities in Ontario. Join us to make the environment, the climate crisis and a just transition to a net-zero carbon future key issues during and after the Ontario election.  
Where: Queen’s Park, South Lawn
When: Saturday, May 14, 1 pm
– Bring your OPSEU flags and noisemakers!
– Join, like and share the Facebook event
OPSEU Meet-Up: Join us at 12 noon at the OPSEU Toronto Regional Office, 31 Wellesley St. East to build some signs, have a snack, and march together to the rally at Queen’s Park. Planing to join us? Please RSVP to gtac@opseugtac.ca!
 
Stop Doug Ford’s Plan to Close Community Courthouses in Scarborough, North York & Etobicoke

On April 21, OPSEU President JP Hornick joined representatives of the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association, the Society of United Professionals, and the Urban Alliance on Race Relations to call on the Ford government to halt its plans to close three community courthouses in North York, Etobicoke, and Scarborough. (See some of the news coverage here.)

Closing these local courthouses will only increase the systemic barriers that working class, Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities face in achieving equal access justice and equal treatment before Ontario’s courts. The planned closing – and the transfer of these courts’ caseloads to the New Toronto Courthouse in downtown Toronto – also represents a real threat to public and workplace safety and the jobs of OPSEU members and others who work in Toronto’s provincial courts.

Help Make Sure Ford Gets the Message!
Click here to send a clear message to Doug Ford, Tory Attorney General Doug Downy and your own MPP: Our communities need access to community courts!

———————

SAVE THE DATE!
Join GTAC at Our Monthly Delegates & Activists Meeting – May 18

Key agenda items include:
> Panel Discussion: Climate Justice, the Environmental Crisis and the Ontario Elections – What’s at Stake for Working People
> Updates on the June 2 Ontario election & outreach to OPSEU members and our communities for a workers-first agenda.
More details to come. Hope to see you there!
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Recent COVID-19 Vaccination Policy Decisions

Read this summary of new arbitrator decisions related to COVID-19 vaccination policies implemented by employers across Canada. These decisions are summarized by MathewDinsdale Global HR Lawyers and include decisions upholding these vaccination policies and a decision on who should bear the cost of testing and whether employees should be compensated for the time they take to test. A decision was also released upholding the termination of an employee who refused to get vaccinated as required by a Public Health Order for health care workers.

Read the summary.

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Young Worker Mentorship Call Out for Mentees

Attention All members!

​OPSEU/SEFPO’s Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC) is proud to present the first annual Young Worker Mentorship Program! We are now seeking expressions of interest from potential mentees aged 35 and younger interested in participating in the 2022 program.

The Young Worker Mentorship Program will match Executive Board Members (EBMs) and Equity Committee/Caucus representatives with young workers to learn about OPSEU/SEFPO and develop them as leaders in Union life.

The six month program aims to establish a supportive mentoring culture and provide opportunities to connect individuals from diverse backgrounds and with different levels of experience from across the union. The program will also allow participants to build confidence with the hope of running for a leadership role in the future.

The program is very casual! Virtual meetings, Coffee meet-ups, phone calls, etc., on your own time. You may be invited to union meetings and events.

Duration:

July 31, 2022, to January 31, 2023.

Selection Process:

Eight young workers aged 35 or younger will be selected to participate in the program as mentees.  Four will be paired with Executive Board Members, and four will be paired with Equity Committee/Caucus Reps.     

Ideally, participants will be paired with EBMs or Equity Committee/Caucus Reps from their region.

To participate in the program you will need to submit an Expression of Interest to the PYC including your aspirations and why you should be selected for the mentorship. Indicate whether you would like to pair with an EBM or Equity Committee/Caucus Rep.

Please email your expression of interest with your name, local number and phone number to equity@opseu.org. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2022.

We look forward to welcoming you into the program! If you have any questions at all, please contact equity@opseu.org.



In Solidarity, The OPSEU/SEFPO Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC) 

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OPSEU/SEFPO Indigenous Circle Call for Representative in Region 5

This article is reproduced from: https://opseu.org/news/opseu-sefpo-indigenous-circle-call-for-representative-in-region-5/152043/

The OPSEU/SEFPO Indigenous Circle invites OPSEU/SEFPO members who self-identify as Indigenous to apply for a position on the OPSEU/SEFPO Indigenous Circle to fill a vacancy in Region 5.

The role of the regional representative on the Indigenous Circle is to create and maintain networks within the region, to develop and promote programs, to encourage First Nation (Status or Non Status), Métis and Inuit members to participate in union activities and to increase the awareness and understanding of Indigenous issues throughout the OPSEU/SEFPO membership.

Application process

Interested applicants shall submit a statement of interest that outlines:

  1. Who are you? Describe the traditions or culture you are from, (if known).
  2. How have you been involved in your community, union etc.?
  3. What strengths (personal, social, cultural) do you bring to the Indigenous Circle?
  4. Why do you want to be a Representative on the Indigenous Circle?

Selection process

The Equity Unit will ensure an anonymous selection process.

The Indigenous Circle will select a new representative from Region 5 based on the following considerations:

  • previous activist experience;
  • willingness to share cultural knowledge to the Indigenous Circle and OPSEU/SEFPO; and
  • openness to learning various Indigenous cultural activities.

Please forward completed statement of interest to the Equity Unit (e-mail to equity@opseu.org or fax to 416-448-7419) no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday May 2, 2022.

If you have any difficulty reading the application, please contact equity@opseu.org

2022 – Call for Application_EN

You can also complete the statement of interest online.

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The fight against racism is a fight from all corners

This article is reproduced from: https://opseu.org/news/the-fight-against-racism-is-a-fight-from-all-corners/152134/

OPSEU/SEFPO is deeply concerned about a recent court ruling and the sweeping implications it could have for the protection of union members’ human rights.

In October 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its decision Northern Regional Health Authority v Horrocks to dismiss a human rights complaint, finding that a Manitoba human rights adjudicator did not have jurisdiction to hear a complaint filed by a unionized employee.  Instead, the Court determined that, under the Manitoba Labour Relations Act and Human Rights Code, labour arbitrators have exclusive jurisdiction to decide human rights complaints. Such complaints cannot proceed to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, even if the unionized employees have not filed grievances.

The Horrocks decision is creating shockwaves in Ontario and other provinces. If applied in Ontario, this decision could take away the option for members to file complaints to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. This would create a troubling dual system for the enforcement of human rights in employment. In addition, it would block the ability of unions to pursue human rights complaints to the tribunal on behalf of the union or individual members.  The timing cannot be worse particularly because of the alarming increases of homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Black, and anti-Indigenous racism in Ontario. We are also seeing the rise of anti-Asian racism at unprecedented levels.

The question now is how the Supreme Court ruling will play out with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The Tribunal has scheduled two test cases in the coming months. In both, employers will argue that, following Horrocks, labour arbitrators have exclusive jurisdiction and the employees’ complaints must be dismissed. OPSEU/SEFPO and several other unions have applied to intervene in these test cases to support the employees’ position that Ontario has concurrent jurisdiction over human rights. In other words, Ontario legislation gives union members a choice between filing a grievance under their collective agreement or a complaint to the Tribunal.  Either claim can proceed to adjudication.

For many years, Ontario has recognized this right for unionized employees to choose between filing a grievance with the union and filing an application with the tribunal. Although labour arbitrators have the same jurisdiction as the tribunal, and the same authority to order remedies, the autonomy of unionized employees is respected.  This right to choose the most appropriate forum has also provided a layer of consistency for union and non-union employees.  A dual system for protection of human rights would risk creating different outcomes or tiers for human rights justice.

Under our current system, unions can also choose to file human rights complaints on behalf of members. Following Horrocks, the Tribunal may eliminate that option.

In all spheres of life, choice is good, and choice creates accountability. For all equity seeking groups, and particularly racialized and Indigenous communities facing systemic racism and oppression, the Human Rights Tribunal has been widely seen as a shield, which has effectively supported labour arbitrators to issue rulings that are fair, far reaching, and consistent with established law. There is genuine fear and apprehension that the HRTO may now close its doors to our most vulnerable communities.

OPSEU/SEFPO stands behind the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion by applying them at all levels of the organization. Members and staff have engaged in numerous campaigns to spotlight anti-racism and discrimination at workplaces and in the union. In addition to raising awareness, OPSEU/SEFPO remains committed to taking concrete steps that stop acts of racism and discrimination. This includes but is not limited to dismantling anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, anti-Asian and all other forms of racism.

We are appealing to the Human Rights Tribunal to carefully consider the implications of withdrawing its services to unionized employees. The knowledge and institutional expertise of the Tribunal must remain equally available to all workers, both unionized and non-unionized. If the access to HRTO services is restricted, it  will deny marginalized and oppressed workers their autonomy and the right to choose.  It will also undermine our collective work to protect human rights and build a more equitable society.

In Solidarity,

JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Laurie Nancekivell, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer

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OPSEU/SEFPO welcomes new leadership: JP Hornick and Laurie Nancekivell

JP Hornick has been elected as the new President of OPSEU/SEFPO marking the first change in the union’s presidency in 15 years.

OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer, Laurie Nancekivell (left) and OPSEU/SEFPO President, JP Hornick (right)

Hornick is the Coordinator of the School of Labour at George Brown College, a long-time OPSEU/SEFPO leader and a women’s rights, equity, LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS activist. She ran for President on a platform of change, deep renewal, and building a bigger and more inclusive union.

“I am confident that we can build a bigger and more inclusive tent that engages all members and renews our union,” said Hornick. “I will work for a transparent and truly democratic union – where equity is a practice and not a buzzword or performance, and where everyone’s voices are heard and contributions valued.” Watch this YouTube video to hear JP’s speach.

Hornick will succeed Warren (Smokey) Thomas, the union’s longest-running President, who held the position since 2007. Under her leadership, Hornick plans to foster connections within the union and strengthen relationships with social justice movements across Ontario.

“I know the power of the labour movement is in working with social justice movements for deep change,” added Hornick. “That’s when we are at our most powerful – when we are part of a bigger struggle for justice.”

Laurie Nancekivell has been elected as OPSEU/SEFPO’s First Vice-President/Treasurer and will serve alongside Hornick. Nancekivell, a Child and Youth Worker by trade and Director’s College graduate, has served on OPSEU/SEFPO’s Executive Board for 10 years.

“As OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President, I will ensure our union’s environment is one where diverse thoughts and opinions can be shared freely,” said Nancekivell. “And as Treasurer, I will serve our members with integrity and transparency.”

Hornick and Nancekivell will be officially sworn in at the close of OPSEU/SEFPO’s Convention on Saturday, April 9.

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Support OPSEU Local 5119 ON STRIKE at LifeLabs!

Support OPSEU Local 5119 ON STRIKE at LifeLabs!

After organizing to join OPSEU in 2020, 150 couriers and mailroom workers at LifeLabs have run into a brick wall trying to bargain a fair first contract .

Why? Because the bosses at this billion-dollar-a-year private corporation refuse to negotiate decent wages and benefits for these workers, who earn an average of just $35,000 a year.

That’s why since March 14 Local 5119 members have been on strike to achieve fair working conditi ons and a living wage. And they need our help to get LifeLabs back to the table with a fair offer!

Showing Our Solidarity:
Two Ways You and Your Local Can Help!
1) Join the Strike Rally for a Living Wage
Thursday, March 24, 10 a.m.
LifeLabs Head Office, 100 International Blvd, Etobicoke
(West of Hwy 27, South of Dixon Road)
Bring your OPSEU flags & noisemakers!
Join, like & share the Event on Facebook
For info contact Local 5119 President Mahmood Alawneh, 647-333-5555, raneentrading@gmail.com

2) Donate to the Local 5119 Strike Fund
As a brand-new local, L5119 doesn’t have a reserve fund to support their members during the strike. So, OPSEU has put out a call to other locals to show our solidarity by donating to the Local 5119 strike fund.
For info and to donate, contact Local 5119 Treasurer Maria Calingaon at maria_calingaon@yahoo.ca

More on the Local 5119 strike at LifeLabs: opseu.org/sector/cbs-diagnostics/

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