Local 561 General Membership Meeting Monday, February 6, 2017 5:30-7:00 pm Senecentre, Newnham Campus

Delegate Elections, Dinner and Door Prizes! Agenda and Proposed 2017 Budget are attached. Please RSVP to virginia.dimonte@senecacollege.ca, by the end of today, so we have enough to eat. Please come out to approve a local budget for 2017 and elect local delegates to convention and our Fall Pre-Bargaining Conference. We will also be recruiting members for our Local Committees. A complete list of stewards, officers and local union committees is attached. 


Your Next Step for Bargaining: Register for the April 11th Tele-Town Hall Meeting NOW.

Dear College Support Part-time member,     

You are invited to join a special tele-town hall with President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida and the College Support Part-Time Staff bargaining team on Wednesday, April 11, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Please confirm today that you want us to dial you in for this important interactive conference call!

We received more than 2700 responses to our bargaining survey, thank you.

The feedback from the survey will be used for this important next step: What are our key demands at the bargaining table, and what is their order of priority?

 Join the discussion, vote on our key issues, and choose the priority sequence of those issues for bargaining.


Please click on the link to let us know you will join us. You will be asked to provide your contact information so that you can be dialed in on April 11.

Sign me up!


General Membership Meeting Notes: Feb 13, 2018

Draft Minutes:  561 GMM Minutes 2018-02-13 DRAFT

OPSEU Local 561 held a General Membership Meeting on Tuesday, February 13th, 5:30 pm, in the Senecentre, at Newnham Campus. Dinner was served. Quorum was exceeded, and there were two part-time workers who attended as guests. The meeting was called to order at 5:40, and Janice Hagan, who chaired the meeting, read the statement of respect. The agenda was approved by consensus.

The following members were elected to represent OPSEU Local 561 at the Divisional Meeting of College Support Staff (Full-Time and Appendix D), on March 24th and 25th:      Mary Kernohan, Virginia DiMonte, Rod Bemister  (Alternate: Derrick Gunning)

Janice Hagan and Tracy MacMaster will be attending the meeting as Divisional Executive delegates. Frank Sturm will go as local President, in Janice’s place. It was announced that the Local will also bring two (2) part-time representatives, including one “regular” part-time worker, and one “student” part-time worker. These reps will be chosen by the part-time members, once stewards have been nominated.

The following members were elected to represent the Local at Convention, 2018:  Tracy MacMaster, Virginia DiMonte, Mary Kernohan (Alternates in order: Rod Bemister, Ahmed Chakera, Lily Tsonis).

Janice Hagan will be attending Convention as Vice Chair of the Union’s Constitution Committee, and Frank Sturm will attend as local president, in Janice’s place.

In addition, Tracy MacMaster, Rod Bemister and Virginia DiMonte were elected to represent our local at the Greater Toronto Area Council (Toronto OPSEU Locals), and Janice Hagan, Tracy MacMaster and Virginia DiMonte were elected to the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.

An Interim Budget for 2018 was passed, and it was explained that when OPSEU’s Executive Board passes a motion to add the newly organized Part-Time workers into our local Union, we may have to made some additions related to meetings and collective bargaining. Two motions to amend the proposed budget were passed: 1) the “Negotiations” line was amended to add $5,000, to allow for mobilizing and meetings around our new Bargaining Team’s mandate (instead of bargaining) to improve job security and fight contracting out at the colleges; and 2) to donate $1,000 to a provincial celebration dinner on March 24th for Organizers and Activists, including retirees, who worked on the Part Time Organizing campaign.

The participants voted to submit a Constitutional Amendment for the consideration of Convention this year, as follows:  That OPSEU’s Constitution be changed to allow electronic forums to be used for general membership meetings and elections. This motion would open the door for locals to allow for greater participation in decision making, by allowing members to “log in” to a membership meeting, debate motions and amendments, and elect officers, as long as the process was secure, allowed members enough time to visit throughout the week, and was approved by OPSEU.

Frank Sturm and Janice Hagan led a presentation and discussion on Bill 148. Janice assured members that they could now take up to two days off, per year, with pay (and 8 others without pay, if needed) to assist with family care for grandparents, parents, spouses and children (including foster and step), as well as for any relative for whom the member is the primary caregiver. The time off would be posted on i3 as a leave with pay, and the explanation would go in the details. The two days cannot be broken up, so that if you have to leave work two hours early to attend a doctor’s appointment with your child, that would count as one of the two days. A full chart of all the Bill 148 improvements for full-time, Appendix D (replacement workers), Appendix G (summer student workers) and part-time employees is being finalized and translated, and would be distributed soon to all members.

Finally, there was a long discussion of part-time workers joining our Local as a composite unit. Janice explained that a composite local has one executive (ie. President, VPs, Secretary, Treasurer), except they will have two chief stewards: one for the FT bargaining unit and one for the PT bargaining unit. Bargaining meetings will be held separately, but all other meetings will include FT and PT members. We also discussed whether or not the college will be providing “equal pay for equal work” to part-timers, on the April 1st, 2018 deadline. Participants wondered whether Premier Kathleen Wynn would “put her money where her mouth is”, or pull a “Tim Hortons” in the colleges. The provincial EERC has started the conversation centrally, with the College Employer Council, and time will tell.
The meeting was adjourned shortly after 7 pm.

Join OPSEU Region 5 at the 2017 Toronto Labour Day Parade

Labour Day 2017 is less than a week away, and once again, this will be a great opportunity to join hundreds of OPSEU activists, the WE OWN IT CAMPAIGN, the Fight for $15 & Fairness/Make it Fair Campaign, and more than 20,000 of our labour and community allies at the BIGGEST, LOUDEST and PROUDEST annual labour event in Canada!

  • WE OWN IT! Stop the privatization of our public services!
  • Support the Fight for $15 and Fairness!
  • Speak up for the rights of ALL workers and our communities!

When:   Monday, Sept. 4 at 8 a.m.
Where:  University Avenue, east side, south of Dundas St.
March:  West on Queen St. to Dufferin then south into the CNE

  • INVITE your OPSEU sisters, brothers & comrades to join us!
  • BRING your family, kids & friends
  • OPSEU T-SHIRTS and FREE ADMISSION to the CNE for all OPSEU members marching with us
  • PRIZES for the OPSEU locals with the best turn-out
  • SNACKS & DRINKS for marchers along the route. (Bring your own water.)
  • RIDES available FOR THOSE WITH MOBILITY ISSUES. (SPACES ARE LIMITED. E-mail us early to reserve your seat atopseuregion5ebms@gmail.com)

College Support Staff Offered Surprise Contract Extension

College Support Staff have been offered a deal to extend our current Contract, which ends August 31, 2018, by four more years, in return for a 7.75% wage increase, the first year’s raise presented 6 months before the contract ends, as well as other cost-neutral improvements, including 5 family care days, catastrophic drug cost coverage, and the first improvements to contracting out language we’ve seen in over two decades. OPSEU administrators and members of the Divisional Executive signed a tentative agreement endorsing the Offer, and now 9,000 + Full-Time, Appendix D and G bargaining unit members will have their say. A vote date is expected to be confirmed early next week, and details about polling stations and times will follow. Details of the offer can be viewed here:

Tentative Agreement Announcement

Full Text of Agreement

If members turn down this Offer, we will bargain as usual. We will elect a Bargaining Team in October, engage our 24 college locals in demand setting throughout the winter, then start meeting with the employer in June. Regular bargaining supported by a strong strike vote is still an option. Nobody has taken away our rights. We are merely offering members a choice: take the extension or bargain as usual.

There are a few critics who feel we should have made that decision for you, and refused this deal “on principle” because our Bargaining procedures were not followed. I do not agree. Thanks to OPSEU President, Smokey Thomas, and senior Administrators, Ron Elliot and Bob Eaton, the leadership of our Division was allowed to make our own decision on what was best for our members at this time. We decided that this is a choice that needs to be considered and made by all Support Staff.

In Solidarity,

Janice Hagan

Toronto Labour Day Parade

Join Region 5 OPSEU members at Toronto’s Labour Day Parade. This year’s theme is about protecting our jobs against Privatization, and improving the rights of precarious workers. Bring your friends and family. As always, there will be free T-shirts for OPSEU members, prizes and free admission for all parade marchers into the CNE. If you have mobility issues and require assistance, email opseuregion5ebms@gmail.com as soon as possible.

Last year, Local 561 won the prize for most members attending the parade. Hope to see everyone again, and many new members!