Labour Day Message from OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas



A Labour Day commitment to union and community

Publication Date:
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 – 10:00am

Fire up the barbeque, Labour Day has arrived. Celebrated across the country, the first Monday in September is often thought of as the last one before kids go back to school and the long, hot days of summer turn to autumn.

Labour Day is more than just the unofficial end to summer. The holiday was created to recognize the contribution that working people have made to the Canadian way of life. The union movement built a large part of society, both in terms of the way people get paid and in terms of people’s rights. This includes the right to fair wages, safe working conditions and compensation for injury, and equitable labour relations.

Lots of people lost their lives to establish the right to refuse unsafe work and the right to be treated fairly, without discrimination. That is why working people have reason to be proud.

So why do people still join unions in 2014?  The reasons aren’t much different than they were back in the late 1800s. People join because they want to ensure their health and safety is protected at work. They want to be treated fairly. That is exactly what unions have delivered. Unions mean better pay, less accidents at work, higher productivity and a healthier economy.

This is why the right wing, last seen in Ontario politics under Tim Hudak, is only too willing to confiscate those rights. Even the Liberals, while appearing to be kinder and gentler, have plans that will weaken public sector workers and services. Privatization and outsourcing are their weapons of choice!

Thanks to push back by thousands of OPSEU members the Hudak threat was beaten back – at least for the moment. Should it rear its head again, these OPSEU members and their community friends will fight to preserve public services from the OPS to the smallest community agency.

We must stand for principles. We are empowered by a record of success. The reason Labour Day is celebrated is one example. It started with the Toronto Typographical Union and the “Nine-Hour Movement.”  Take a moment to read about their strike and the changes in labour law that it triggered on March 25, 1872. The celebration of Labour Day was officially recognized on July 23, 1894 by the federal government, under Prime Minister John Thompson.

But that was then and this is now. OPSEU members will build on the past. And make no mistake, there are many challenges ahead. Let’s look at just a few.

Today in Ontario we face a council created by the Wynne government prior to the election and chaired by a retired banker named Ed Clarke. His mandate, in part, was set out in government media release:

“Recommend ways to improve the efficiency and optimize the full value of Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. The Council will examine how to get the most out of key government assets to generate better returns and revenues for Ontarians. They will consider various options to generate better returns and revenues to maximize the value of these government business enterprises to the province, including such measures as efficient governance, growth strategies, corporate reorganization, mergers, acquisitions, public-private partnerships, etc.”

Fancy words aside, this sounds like trouble. OPSEU will respond with simple but concrete ideas. From IT outsourcing to the privatization of the LCBO, OPSEU members stand for public services not private sector profit.

Today, at bargaining tables, we face employers who want to roll back or freeze rights and benefits. Instead of agreeing, OPSEU members will fight for improvements. The OPS is one place where wage improvements have lagged behind the private sector. As we head into bargaining, this can change.

Community agencies and services are other examples of public sector work that too many OPSEU members provide at Walmart-style wage levels. OPSEU will stand with its members for better wages and benefits in these sectors. Government promises for personal service workers (PSWs) and others must expand to cover more workers and provide wider benefits.

We know that workplace struggles are not restricted to the workplace. They must embrace the communities in which we live, work and play. In many cases the government itself has to be held responsible for the cuts and caps that seem to be such a part of their deficit reduction strategy.

This is the time to educate, agitate and organize. Our kind of action is based on these very principles.

As we look back at the history of Labour Day let us reinforce the role of the worker, both from the past and looking to the future.

“OPSEU – Forward Together” was the slogan we adopted to help guide our journey. Today we remain “Ontario’s Union for Changing Times.”  And, again, together — our members, our elected leaders and our staff – stand united to help forge a better tomorrow for all.

Have a great Labour Day 2014 with your friends, family and community. Feel pride in the past while staying active and energized for the challenges ahead.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

OPSEU Local 101 Update


We hope everyone is having a good summer. We would like to take this time to provide an update on our recent meetings with Windsor Regional Hospital with regards to aligning wage grids based on classifications.
The team met with the Employer and tabled our proposal for all affected classifications.
The Employer has requested time to cost out the proposal and is hopeful to have this process completed by September. There will be an election of a Negotiating Team (see below) to help move this process along further.

Negotiating Team Election Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare (Tayfour Campus)
There will be an Election for the Negotiating Team for Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare OPSEU 101 Members on September 9, 2014 at 7 PM. There will be 4 team members elected (in addition to the President)
The meeting will be held at the Columbus Center of South Windsor, 2401 Columbus Drive, Windsor ON  (See map below) If not able to attend, you must submit your intention to run in writing and you will also require a nominator.


Negotiating Team Election Windsor Regional Hospital (Met and Ouellette Campuses)
There will be an Election for the Negotiating Team for Windsor Regional Hospital OPSEU 101 Members on September 10, 2014 at 7 PM. There will be 7 team members elected.
The meeting will be held at the Columbus Center of South Windsor, 2401 Columbus Drive, Windsor ON (See map below) If not able to attend, you must submit your intention to run in writing and you will also require a nominator.

Both campuses

OPSEU Local 101 Quarterly Update

July 2014

Well it certainly has been an eventful 6 months for Local 101. On January 29, 2014, a joint General Membership Meeting between OPSEU Locals 142 and 143 was held. At that time the membership voted to merge the 2 locals into one larger Local which subsequently became OPSEU Local 101.

At the end of February 2014, Unit and Shop Stewards were elected in their respective units.

For a list of Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare Stewards, click here.

For a list of Windsor Regional Met Campus Stewards, click here.

For a list of Windsor Regional Ouellette Campus Stewards, click here


General Membership Meeting

OPSEU Local 101 held their first official General Membership Meeting on March 24, 2014. At that time the Election of the new Local Executive was held.

For a list of the Local Executive, please click here.


A new website was created and went live on March 30, 2014,

So far we have had over 200 members who have signed up for News and Updates from the website. Our goal is to increase those numbers substantially in the upcoming weeks and months. We thank those members who have subscribed and encourage all of our members to sign up.

Our goal is to keep you well informed of developments in our Local. If you prefer Twitter, you can follow us @OPSEULocal101

Local Executive and By-Law Committee

The Local held its first Local Executive Meeting on April 22, 2014 where all of the Executive were present and all of the new Stewards were invited to attend. From that meeting, the Executive and several Stewards volunteered for the By-Law committee.

The By-law Committee met on June 4, 2014 to develop new by-laws for the Local. There will be more information in the coming months on the new by-laws.

Contract Negotiations

With both Hotel Dieu Grace Health Care and Windsor Regional Hospital, there has been a great deal of work negotiating “Common Provisions” with regards to the various contracts that existed prior to the Hospitals Realignment. Common Provisions refer to Collective agreement issues such as: seniority, postings, layoff and recall and grievance procedure.

With both Employers, Local 101 has had teams working diligently with our Staff Representative, Marisa Forsyth, to look at the common provisions in order to negotiate an Interim Agreement.

Hotel Dieu Grace Health Care (Tayfour Campus)

The OPSEU 101 Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare team has worked on Common Provisions regarding the existing OPSEU 142 and OPSEU 143 contracts. At this time, the common provisions for Hotel Dieu Grace Health Care concerning postings, seniority, layoff/recall and grievance procedure has been completed. The combined seniority list has been posted. A Bargaining team will be elected in early September to negotiate a new Collective Agreement. As a result we will be having a Demand set meeting as well. These meetings are very important to attend.

Stay tuned for further updates. The dates will be announced on our Website.

Windsor Regional Hospital (Met and Ouellette Campuses)

The OPSEU 101 Windsor Regional Hospital team continues to work on Common Provisions. This involves working with 4 Collective Agreements. This includes OPSEU Locals 142 and 143 Collective Agreements, the Unifor 2458 Collective Agreement as well as those members who were previously non-Union and their agreement.

We are in the midst of finalizing an interim agreement. The proposed interim agreement has yet to be approved by the Hospital Board. If this is approved, this will govern how many of the larger issues are handled until a new collective agreement has been negotiated. With the exception of the common provisions, members are still governed by everything else in their former collective agreement until a new collective agreement is negotiated.

We just received confirmation last week from Windsor Regional Hospital to begin wage harmonization discussions. We are attempting to bring all similar classifications merged into the OPSEU local 101 (WRH group) comparable wages now that we have a single employer. Those discussions begin July 22-25th. We are working on finding any wage discrepancies between the multiple collective agreements this week. Those dates were only approved last week.

A Bargaining team will be elected in early September to negotiate a new Collective Agreement. As a result we will be having a Demand set meeting. These meetings are very important to attend.

Stay tuned for further updates. The dates will be announced on our Website.

Summer Vacations

The summer months are when many people take vacations. We wish all of the OPSEU Local 101 members a safe summer.

We will continue to keep you apprised of updates.


In Solidarity,

OPSEU Local 101-The Union for Hospital Health Professionals in Windsor