TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 20, 2014) - Thousands of Ontario's public servants are being forced to take unprecedented action to protect benefits after government negotiators demanded devastating cuts to their health and wellness benefits, as well as many other enormous concessions.
"This is an unfair and mean-spirited attack on public servants who care about the work they do," says Gary Gannage, President of AMAPCEO. "We can't understand why the government would seek these cuts to our health benefits when it knows they will hurt the health, not only of our members, but of families throughout Ontario."
AMAPCEO began negotiations for a new Collective Agreement with the Ontario government in February of this year. The union underwent a difficult round of bargaining in 2012 where its members were hit with a two-year wage freeze and lost the equivalent of fifteen and half days pay. "Public servants deserve fairness," says Gannage. "AMAPCEO is willing to be reasonable, and has always maintained an open approach to bargaining that considers the financial constraints of the government."
The Bargaining Team is insisting on fairness from the employer and an end to the proposed cuts, concessions and claw-backs, particularly those that are directly targeted at employees with a disability, the sick and the injured. The cuts would also mean a financial loss of thousands of dollars for each individual member and their family.
"Our Association has always found a way to work with the government, but this time, the government is moving aggressively to impose these cuts on us and we have no choice. With our backs to the wall, we are forced to take our first-ever strike vote to defend our contract," said Dianne Colville, Chair of the Bargaining Team. "We have never taken a strike vote before, and we thought this moment would never come, but the government is giving us no choice."
AMAPCEO is the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario and is a bargaining agent representing approximately 11,500 professional and supervisory employees who work in the Ontario Public Service directly for the Government of Ontario, in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in over 130 communities across the province and in 11 cities outside Canada. AMAPCEO also represents over 500 employees in the broader public sector who work at the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, Public Health Ontario, the Ontario Racing Commission, Health Quality Ontario, Ontario Arts Council and the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner. For information visit www.iminAMAPCEO.ca.