Monthly Archives: May 2014

Hey Man, How Big Was Your Bonus!?

Prior to reading this article, you should visit the website for this years’ Sunshine List-those earning more than $100k. Believe it or not that is the burning question on the mind of this Local President, heading into yet another round … Continue reading

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Nurses’ Week Interview with Danielle Larmand!

On May 15 – 16th, OPSEU and ONA celebrated Nurses’ Week at CAMH. The two locals hosted breakfast and lunch events for staff members, and used the opportunity to talk to members about the issues facing them today. Voices United … Continue reading

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Nurses Week at CAMH

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Nurses Week-CAMH

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Solidarity Posts: Legal Aid Ontario Mergers

Over the last few years CAMH employees have witnessed a shift in working conditions. This has included the consolidation of services, an aggressive discouraging of the use of sick days, and freezing salaries for two of the last six years (despite generous increases in pay at executive lever). While it may seem drastic, it’s only one example of a much larger trend towards austerity. Public service workers in Canada are no strangers to austerity policies which prioritize under-spending, service reduction and bloodletting benefit programs. All of this is done in the name of ‘deficit reduction’. Take, for example, the Conservative federal government shedding over 10, 000 public sector jobs over the past several years, only to then target public servants’ pensions. Unions are starting to fight back. At the provincial level, OPSEU has signed a solidarity pact with professional associations (ALOC, AMAPCEO and PEGO) to, “send a message to the government that OPS employees will not be a scapegoat for the government’s financial situation; a crisis that we did not create.” Solidarity between the organizations will present a stronger front in resisting concessions in bargaining. There is organizing at the local level, as well. In Toronto, a group of OPSEU members employed at various legal aid clinics are helping to lead the fight against austerity. Legal Aid Ontario has recently proposed a series of mergers of offices in the GTA, which can impact services vital to disadvantaged communities. Voices United talked to one member of OPSEU Local 525 about how they are standing up to austerity and what lessons can be learned. Hi, can you start with an overview of the legal clinic system in Toronto? What is its relationship to Legal Aid Ontario, how many clinics are there, and roughly how many employees (union and non­ unionized) are in the system?  Community Legal Clinics provide legal services to low­income people in areas not traditionally covered by Legal Aid such as Housing, Income Security, Immigration, and Employment. Key tenets of the system are local community board governance, meaning clinics should be run by boards which reflect the make­up of the local community they serve, and a commitment to community development, meaning engaging in work that leads to law reform in the interest of low ­income peoples’ social and economic rights. There are 77 Community Legal Clinics in Ontario, 17 in the GTA, all funded by LAO. In the GTA we have 8 clinics unionized with OPSEU. Now, could you describe the proposed cuts and mergers? LAO is demanding that the Community Legal Clinics enter into processes to transform the model they are working on. In the GTA some of Community Legal Clinic Directors have initiated what they call a “Transformation Project” to develop a plan for what the new system will look like. They are proposing merging the existing 17 clinics into 4 or 5 larger legal clinics. How will the mergers impact jobs? Whenever the government undertakes mergers or “rationalization” schemes in the public sector, jobs are lost. With the Community Legal Clinic mergers it remains to be seen whether jobs will be lost solely through attrition, or if there will be buy­outs and layoffs as well. The other danger is that the new system will be more focused on “efficiencies”, in other words getting as many people through the door and churning out as many cases as possible. The important community organizing and legal and policy reform work we undertake will be de­-emphasized or lost altogether. … Continue reading

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Should Unions Be Involved In Politics 2014? The winning video played at the OPSEU 2014 convention! By Paul Marut.

Should Unions Be Involved In Politics 2014? A video featured at the OPSEU 2014 convention.

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Vacation Entitlements: What are the rules, anyways?

By Nancy Pridham The collective agreement between CAMH and Local 500 governs our working conditions and allows the employees certain rights within the workplace, which might not normally be present or would not have been given to you by the employer … Continue reading

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