Highlights of the Recommendations from Phase III of the SMP
- Encourage inclusive content of all OPSEU communications: Develop an equity-related communications policy; expand the inclusive content of OPSEU publications; and encourage a diversity of input in local newspapers.
- Use the full diversity of media available to increase member knowledge of OPSEU: Establish guidelines for use of media such as e-mail and print materials and develop educational material for members and locals to optimize representation of equity concerns in all union communications.
- Increase public awareness and understanding: Explore ways in which new and current members can gain an appreciation of OPSEU history; improve OPSEU’s image and the image of unions in general.
- Fully mobilize all activists in bargaining: Develop innovative strategies for supporting workers in equity groups and contingent workers to participate in the bargaining process and in bargaining teams; identify a greater number of priority demands that are responsive to the needs of equity groups; develop tools to assist bargaining teams in responding to the needs of diverse members.
- Create opportunities for OPSEU to effectively organize a wider diversity of members: Encourage the development of new ideas for organizing a wider diversity of members and emerging worker groups; develop diversity competency for organizers and structures that support OPSEU’s practice of matching organizers to target workplaces.
By March 2012, more than one-third of the recommendations from Phase II were identified for immediate action:
- Some recommendations were implemented directly by staff without the need for further direction (e.g. development of training and communications material), while others require either policy or constitutional changes;
- The task force referred some recommendations to various stakeholders to develop key motions, resolutions, and actions. Some of these were referred to the March Executive Board Meeting. In addition, Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions were developed for consideration at Convention.
Highlights of the implementation process:
Some innovative and creative projects have been developed across OPSEU in response to the SMP Phase II recommendations. These include:
- An accommodation policy was developed by the Equity Unit to better respond to the needs of all OPSEU members. This policy was discussed at the March Executive Board meeting and has been referred back to staff for a few further amendments;
- A Board resolution approved an external accessibility audit of Convention facilities with recommendations to be developed in conjunction with the Equity Unit and the Disability Rights Caucus;
- A Convention Resolution has been submitted that suggests the development of a “Young Worker Mentorship Program.” This resolution was developed in response to SMP recommendations that called for increased support of diverse activists with leadership aspirations;
- The Board is considering a motion recommending that regional educationals include a regular time for equity topics in plenary sessions;
- The Board has referred a resolution to Convention recommending a definition of what constitutes reasonable meeting notice for local elections and local meetings.
Why is implementation so important?
Implementation of the social mapping recommendations will help to ensure that OPSEU becomes a more equitable and inclusive organization This will strengthen the union and make us more attractive to prospective members in our increasingly diverse society. It will also help to broaden the member activist base. This requires:
- A well-executed action plan;
- Coordination of efforts across all the parts of the union;
- A means for measuring and reporting on organizational progress;
- Dedicated resources to support the integration of recommendations into existing practices and processes.
Solid implementation processes will help create an organizational culture that promotes working across boundaries and differences for the common good.
The Implementation Task Force Communication and Engagement Strategy
As part of implementation plans, the task force created a comprehensive communication and engagement strategy to increase understanding and raise awareness of the work of the social mapping project. The strategy includes development of:
- Key messages;
- A social mapping brand including a slogan and design of the logo: “Respect. Inclusion. Solidarity.”;
- Promotional materials (print ads, posters; vinyl banners);
- Table materials for Convention (banner, newsletter, buttons);
- A video campaign which features members speaking about the barriers they have faced and how they have come to be an OPSEU leader. The video will be presented at Convention as part of the social mapping report on Friday April 20 at 3 p.m.
- A Social Mapping report will be presented at Convention. The report will include outcomes of from a the Phase III membership systems review and implementation task force as well as a video-presentation;
- The Implementation Task Force will begin prioritizing and analyzing the long-term recommendations from Phase II (review of the education and electoral systems) and short and long-term recommendations from Phase III (the review of the Communications, Bargaining and Organizing systems);
- Key measures for evaluating and monitoring organizational progress of Phase II and Phase III recommendations will be developed by the Implementation Task Force;
- The Task Force will extend its communications and engagement strategy to include written material for members; web materials (including downloadable resources); social media (a Facebook page, Twitter hashtag and others); as well as a contest to honour OPSEU equity leaders.
Where are we now and where are we going?
“Building a stronger union that understands and responds to its membership in its full diversity”
SMP Phase I: In early 2010, a demographic project of the membership was completed. This phase included data from close to 27,000 members who provided OPSEU with a comprehensive view of the membership.
SMP Phase II: In April 2011, Phase II of the membership system focusing on education and electoral systems was completed. The review identified systemic barriers, explored areas of under-representation found in Phase I and made recommendations for improvement.
SMP Implementation Task Force: In June 2011, the creation of an implementation task force was approved by the Executive Board. The approved mandate of the task force was to research, prioritize, cost, and develop an action plan for the recommendations from Phase II. More details about implementation are provided below.
SMP Phase III: In March 2012, the report from Phase III of the project, focusing on a review of communications, bargaining and organizing was finalized. The Executive Board referred the Phase III recommendations to the task force for implementation. A summary of the recommendations is provided on the left.
SMP Membership Committee Members:
Rod Bain (CAAT A, Region 4); Kaylan Bartholomew (Provincial Young Workers Committee, OPS, Region 1); Rasho Donchev (CAAT-S, Region 5); Cindy Haynes (PWC, OPS, Region 1); Helen Riehl (Disability Rights Caucus, BPS, Region 6); Pauline Saulnier (Aboriginal Circle, OPS, Region 3); Philip Shearer (Rainbow Alliance, OPS, Region 1); Owen Smith (Provincial Human Rights Committee, BPS, Region 2); Peter Thompson (Workers of Colour Caucus, BPS, Region 1); Deb Tungatt ( Executive Board Liaison).
SMP Implementation Task Force Members:
Jeff Arbus (President’s Office); Cindy Haynes (Provincial Women’s Committee); Philip Shearer (Other Equity Groups); Peter Thompson (Workers of Colour Caucus); Deb Tungatt (Executive Board); Ryan Walker (Provincial Young Workers Committee); Libby Zeleke (Human Rights Officer and Project Lead); Fran Borsellino (Supervisor Local Services Unit); Geraldine Ryan (Supervisor Training & Development Unit); Keith Jeffers (External Consultant).