The Real Deal
Bargaining news from your OPSEU Central bargaining team in the Ontario Public Service
Issue #24 February 19, 2002

Employer meddles to mess up vote

In the opening move of its campaign to get you to accept a bad contract, the Ontario government is trying to mess up the Feb. 26-28 vote.

On Feb. 18, OPSEU president Leah Casselman received a proposal from Management Board that would allow the contract vote to be held in OPS workplaces. Then, without waiting for a response, Management Board instructed OPS managers to approach OPSEU Locals with the same proposal.

They are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts.
The employer's real aim is to divide union members from the union by creating a "buzz" about the best place to hold the vote. This is meant to undermine confidence in the union and thereby lower the strike vote. A lower strike mandate means less bargaining power for your union bargaining teams.

This is what the employer wants. Don't fall into the trap.
Your boss knows that if you are talking about vote locations, you are not talking about the Feb. 14 contract offer. The boss knows that the more you know about the offer, the more likely you are to reject it. By rejecting it, you will give your OPSEU bargaining teams more power at the bargaining table. This is the last thing the employer wants!

We are holding the vote outside the workplace to give OPSEU members a safe space to vote. While you may not fear coercion by your manager, the sad fact is that some members do, and with good reason.

If managers really want to make your life easier, they should stop trying to block you from learning about the Feb. 14 offer. Instead, OPS managers have:

The 1999 contract vote went very smoothly. OPSEU ran a professional, legal vote with accurate voting lists, a confidential count, and speedy results. Changing locations now would mean we forfeit the deposit on scores of vote locations we booked before the employer's proposal.

Voting outside the workplace may be inconvenient. It is inconvenient to vote on Election Day, too, but we live with it because the stakes are so high. The way you vote on the Feb. 14 offer will have a big effect on your life over the next few years. Investing a few hours now will pay big dividends.

Learn about the offer, talk about it with your co-workers, and then vote to reject it. You'll give your bargaining teams the power they need to bargain the "A" contract you deserve.

Evidence wanted

OPSEU is investigating the possibility of filing a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board to stop the employer from interfering with the Feb.26-28 vote. If a manager has approached you about changing the vote location, please give us details - who said what, when, and where. E-mail them to jborowy@opseu.org, or fax to (416) 448-7464.

The Real Deal is your only accurate source of Central Team information during this round of bargaining. If you don't read it here, you can't be sure it's true. Don't rely on gossip and rumours. We will provide the facts.

The Real Deal will be available by fax, by e-mail, and on the OPSEU web site at http://www.opseu.org. To receive it directly, send your secure fax number to Lesley Williams at (416) 443-1762 or send your e-mail address to lwilliams@opseu.org.

The Real Deal is authorized for distribution by Marg Simmons, chair, Central team, and Leah Casselman, president.