SUDBURY – More than 80 members of OPSEU Local 666 representing child mental health treatment workers walked off the job in Sudbury and area Nov. 21 citing an unwillingness by management to negotiate a new contract.
“Negotiations officially started on May 3 of this year but in terms of progress, very little has been achieved despite conciliation and mediation,” said Paul Jalbert, chair of the bargaining team which represents child treatment workers in Sudbury, Espanola, Chapleau and Manitoulin.
“Our members feel strongly that unless we remove our services the stalemate at the bargaining table will go on for quite some time. It’s impossible to negotiate when the employer shows no interest in doing so.”
Members of Local 666 were in a legal position to strike after talks broke down on Nov. 18 after the employer refused to modify the offer that led to the strike vote. The workers provide a variety of frontline and administrative services to more than 2,300 children and their families in the Sudbury region.
Contrary to the employer’s stated position, key issues in the dispute include concessions on job security, layoff and recall notices, dictated hours of work without regard to seniority and comparable compensation improvements with Developmental Services and Children’s Aid Society workers.
No new talks are scheduled.