A Newsletter from OPSEU Local 500
In March of 2020, the world was engulfed in by the Covid-19 Pandemic on a scale not seen since the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919. From the day the Pandemic was declared all members of OPSEU Local 500 have been on the front lines of the crisis experiencing the hardest challenges of your careers. You have all been dealing with redeployment and reassignment of your duties, additional health and safety procedures, to follow, and facing the unknown on a daily basis. You are all heroes to CAMH, your Union, families and friends. You have stayed incredibly committed to your patients and to each other! Work volumes have increased, and the stress on frontline health care workers, whatever your jobs has been enormous. The employer has been accommodating non-clinical staff to work from home, though many of you have been seen at the COVID screening stations set up across CAMH. As the President of OPSEU Local 500 I have been awed, humbled and moved by your enormous efforts and sacrifices.
Throughout the pandemic members of the Local have been given invaluable support by the OPSEU co-chair of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee; Carol Mundley. Thank you Carol for all your hard work in support of our members.
The pandemic has caused hospital across the province to see revenue generating streams dry up. CAMH was not immune to this and is running a deficit. Ontario hospitals are forbidden by law from running deficits. CAMH, to balance the books laid off contract staff across the organization. IMG members took the brunt of the layoffs. Half of the Local’s members in Public Affairs were laid off as well. There were NO cuts to front line clinical staff. The OPSEU Staff Rep and I fought the layoffs very hard. The number of layoffs were significantly reduced, through other efficiencies being identified and vacancy management. I fought hard for enhanced entitlements for every member who was impacted in this round of layoffs.
The Local’s office has stayed open throughout the pandemic. We have shifted to representing members through virtual meetings online. We do have to respect social distancing the local office. However the office is open for members. Please call ahead to schedule to meet with myself or Chantelle. (Contact details at the end)
Phase 1C Buildings and Engie Services
In the midst of the pandemic, the new C1 and D1 buildings were opened at the end of November. Members of the Local rose to the challenge as always and helped CAMH’s to move and settle into the new spaces. Five CAMH maintenance workers transferred to Engie Services, the custodian of the new buildings OPSEU Local 500 is now a composite Local. The Union preserved the Collective Agreement rights for our transferred and newly hired Engie members.
The moves into the new buildings have not gone entirely smoothly. Both Unions in pre-occupancy inspections had expressed concerns to the employer that the PICU nursing stations doors in the new units were not safe. After a serious incident, the employer is now in the process of replacing them with Dutch style doors. Non-clinical staff were shown workstations at a furniture fair two years ago. They did not materialize as presented then. Non-clinical staff are working in open spaces filled with desks that do not allow for privacy or undisturbed work. The new buildings advance patient care, unfortunately at the expense of sacrificing decent working spaces for non-clinical staff.
Happy Retirement Virginia!
Virginia Ittig-Deland, a long time Steward of the Local, co-chair of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee for College Street and Ursula Franklin sites and Acting Lead Steward for the Local since September 2020 retired on June 4, 2021 after a storied 45 year career working at Addiction Research Foundation and then CAMH. Virginia’s knowledge and experience, both as a Research Analyst with in-depth understanding of research work and her expertise in Health and Safety, developed over decades of experience, will be sorely missed. All of us at the Local will miss your wisdom, eloquence, consistently principled stands in support of our members, Virginia. You made a huge impact, and you are leaving really big shoes to fill! Enjoy your new chapter in life, Virginia!
Rossana Coriandoli, Rossana.Coriandoli@camh.ca will be taking over as OPSEU co-chair of the College and Ursula Franklin sites’ Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee. Thank you Rossana for taking on this important role supporting our members.
Welcome Back Chantelle!
Please welcome back Chantelle D’Mello. Chantelle was away on maternity leave since September 2020. We have been eagerly awaiting your return to support our members!
Scheduling a Vacation
With the summer vacation season approaching, I wanted to remind everyone of the Vacation Schedules language in the Collective Agreement. If you are having any challenges scheduling a vacation, please do not hesitate to reach out to any member of the LEC or a Steward for assistance.
21.08 Vacation Schedules
CAMH will generally endeavour to accommodate the employee in scheduling vacations in accordance with specific periods requested. However, where the granting of all such requests would prejudice the efficient operation of the department, seniority will prevail in determining the time a specific employee’s vacation is scheduled.
Vacations may be taken at any time of the year between January 1 and December 31 inclusive. The vacation application schedule shall be posted by February 1 and completed by March 1 of each year. The final vacation schedule shall be posted by April 1 each year and once posted, changes may only be effected with the Employer’s agreement.
Vacation requests submitted after the vacation application period will be granted on a first come first served basis once the vacation schedule has been posted and subject to the efficient operation of the department. Vacation requests submitted after the vacation application period will be granted on a first come first served basis once the vacation schedule has been posted and subject to the efficient operation of the department. Requests shall not be unreasonably denied and CAMH will respond to such vacation requests within fourteen (14) calendar days.
In the interests of equity an employee may not utilize more than two (2) consecutive weeks of accumulated vacation/vacation credits during prime vacation time if it limits access to another employee during this time. This will not preclude the Employer from scheduling more than two (2) weeks where possible. In addition, an employee may not utilize the same vacation period two (2) years consecutively, in prime-time, if it limits access to another employee. Prime-time shall be defined as; March Break, June 15 –September 15 and the period from December 24 – January 2 inclusive.
Local 500 Executive Committee
Tony Ivanoff, Vice-President
100 Stokes Street, 3rd floor
416 535-8501 x34935
Robert Edgar, Treasurer
100 Stokes Street, 6th floor
416 535-8501 x33277
Yvonne Hinds, Secretary
160 Horner Avenue, Toronto South-West Detention Centre
416 535-8501 x36022 or 31916