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OPSEU’s got your back: April Newsletter

OPSEU’s got your back: April Newsletter

Cover page of OPSEU's got your back newsletter. Message from Smokey Thomas
Cover page of OPSEU's got your back newsletter. Message from Smokey Thomas

Service. Accountability. Strength.

A message from President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Service. Accountability. Strength. Three simple words, that pack a lot of punch. But why are they so important?

At OPSEU, we are, and always have been, committed to bargaining better contracts. We believe that all workers deserve better working conditions and a better work-life balance. We’re honoured to represent health care workers that are truly the heart of health care in our communities, just like in my hometown of Kingston.

But OPSEU is recognized as a leader in the health care sector for much more.

When it comes to providing better service, we’ve got the resources and staff to support our members’ needs. We don’t think that a local union should have to fend for itself, and to finance every membership service on its own. OPSEU head office makes sure our members get the financial support they need, including their own local staff representative and grievance officer – not to mention a whole load of supports like health and safety officers, negotiators, and a full legal department!

We hope you’ll never have to file a grievance but if you’re ever forced to, you can rest assured that you will be supported 100 per cent through the entire grievance process. After all, we’ve got your back.

With OPSEU, financial accountability is a top priority. That’s because we know that transparency is the only way that members can hold their locals accountable. OPSEU local by-laws have strict rules around spending, and local treasurers must account for every dollar spent through audit reports.

At OPSEU, we’ve built something to be proud of. With nearly 50,000 health care workers across this province, our strength is in our shared history, experience and in our members like you. That’s why it’s important to remember that you’re not voting on a collective agreement, you’re voting on the union you want to represent you for the rest of your working career – that’s no small task.

So, how important are service, accountability, and strength to you?

May 16-18: Kingston PSLRTA vote dates announced!

Voting will run from Wednesday, May 16th at 5 p.m. until Friday, May 18.

Specific details about the poll locations and times will be determined later, so be sure to check with OPSEU for the most up-to-date information:

There will also be an access period from May 5-16, during which time OPSEU will hold info sessions, and be available to chat at our hospital info tables. We encourage you to stop by, and check us out at both sites!

Local update:

OPSEU Locals 443 & 465 Collective Agreements now ratified!

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events

Thursday, April 5, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
OPSEU Ambassador Training, Kingston Regional Office, 824 John Counter Blvd.

Saturday, April 7, 8 p.m.
OPSEU Pub Night, Raxx Bar and Grill, 665 Development Drive
With host Smokey Thomas, President of OPSEU

Ontario Budget Update 2018

After much anticipation, and in preparation for a provincial election this June, Ontario’s Liberal government released its 2018 Budget on Wednesday, March 28. Under the banner of “a plan for care and opportunity,” this year’s budget will inject much needed funding into Ontario’s health care system and hospitals.

When asked his view on the budget overall, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas commented that, “it’s a step in the right direction, but some great strides were needed rather than a baby step.”

After a decade of austerity, which has meant real-dollar cuts to hospitals’ global budgets, the government is funding a one year bump up of 4.6 per cent for community hospitals. Although less than the 5.2 per cent OPSEU has been calling for – an amount widely considered the actual rate of inflation in health care – it marks a sea change after years of cuts.

“This funding increase is an ok start,” said Thomas. “But it’s still nowhere near enough to reverse decades of cuts; it’s not going to fix the most egregious problems our hospitals face, like severe overcrowding, with patients on stretchers lining the hallways, with ambulances unable to offload, and with a burnt-out workforce. The budget talked about opportunity, but this was clearly an opportunity missed.”

To read OPSEU’s Budget response, and for more information, visit:

Interested in learning more about OPSEU?

If you and your fellow colleagues have questions, or would like a meeting specifically focused on your own classification, OPSEU would be more than happy to arrange this – it can be in a casual setting, or more formal meeting space. Even if you just have questions, you can always reach Patti Markland, OPSEU organizer, by phone at 416-802-8121 or by email at

Check us out online!

For more information, visit:
Or find us on Facebook at: Kingston Healthcare OPSEU’s Got Your Back

Download a printable version.