One-sided story

Dear editor:
I am writing this letter regarding the current negotiations between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the provincial government.
For those who are not aware, OPSEU represents about 40,000 workers across the province. In Fort Frances, OPSEU represents courts, victims witness services, the Ontario Disability Support Program, youth and adult probation, Government Information Centre, land titles, MTO enforcement and highway patrol, tourism, Ministry of Natural Resources, and the jail.
Our contract expired Dec. 31, 2004.
A recent report on B•93.1 FM partially has prompted me to write this letter.
The report stated OPSEU members rejected the employer’s (government’s) offer of two percent, two percent, and two percent over a three-year contract.
This is true. Last week, 65 percent of OPSEU members rejected the offer.
What the radio failed to report is the fact that in more than eight months of negotiations, the government has said “no” to almost every one of our demands.
The contract members rejected last week was asking for great concessions, some of which included elimination of early retirement provisions, no benefits improvements, no improvement for unclassified workers who work and receive no benefits, seniority, or vacation (which roughly one-third of OPSEU is made up of now), no method to resolve classification issues, no redeployment rights, no successor rights, no special cases, and elimination of separation and termination pay.
This is the same government whose election campaign was how they planned to rebuild the public service for citizens of Ontario. It seems they have forgotten their promises and plan to continue on with the Tories’ plan of cutting jobs which, in turn, drastically affects and has a negative impact on all services for Ontarians.
Have you ever tried to get a birth certificate replaced? Have you tried reaching a government office? Have you tried obtaining Ontario Disability Support Program benefits?
Accessing government services has become a challenge for the citizens of Ontario and why should it? You are the taxpayer and these services should be second-to-none. I am sure you haven’t noticed a decrease to your taxes with this decline in services.
No, in fact, the government makes citizens pay more and then reduces the services they should be entitled to.
Speaking from personal opinion, public service workers take pride in their jobs and I am one of them. Unfortunately, it has become extremely difficult for a public service worker to do their job and provide excellent service to the public with all of the Tory cuts that have been imposed.
Now with the Liberal government announcing 6,000 more cuts/layoffs to come, it will be even more challenging for these services to be provided.
This is not what we, as public service workers, want! This is not how we want to do our jobs nor is it the service level we want to provide.
So to clarify, these are some of the reasons we have rejected the government’s recent offer; not how it was projected on the radio.
To the public, we ask for your support so we can get a contract. We are fighting for a contract that is fair to the public service workers as well as the citizens of Ontario.
Tell this government by calling your MPPs, etc. that this is not the service you want, nor deserve, either.
Respectfully submitted,
Melissa Pearson
President, OPSEU
Local #735