OPSEU prepares for strike at Participation Lodge

Workers rejected latest offer by 97 per cent

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 235 is preparing for a possible strike after talks broke down with the Participation Lodge.

This strike would be the second labour action in three years for the 55 lodge workers at the Owen Sound-based workplace.

OPSEU requested a “no board” report after the union failed to reach a collective agreement with the employer after a meeting with the parties and an appointed conciliator from the Ministry of Labour on Aug. 19.

According to the union, members rejected the employer’s latest offer by a margin of 97 per cent.

The rejected offer included language that would remove an “in lieu” payment of 13 per cent for part-time and casual workers. The payment was a percentage of workers’ hourly rate provided in lieu of benefits, including dental and health benefits. OPSEU said the average loss to workers would be approximately $2.64 per hour.

The offer also included sick days being exchanged for a short-term sickness plan. The union estimated the switch would cost workers $6 per hour in wages.

The bargaining team has been authorized to call a strike if necessary. Should the “no board” report be issued, the workers will be in a legal strike position at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 25.

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