Ontario Public Service Employees Union

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Ontario Public Service Employees Union (6252330535).jpg
Full name Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Founded 1911
Members 130,000
Head union Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president
Affiliation CLC, NUPGE
Office location Toronto, Ontario
Country Canada
Website www.opseu.org

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is a trade union that represents over 130,000 members employed in the broader public service of the Province of Ontario, Canada. The current president of OPSEU is Warren "Smokey" Thomas. Prior to Thomas OPSEU was headed by Leah Casselman. Casselman was the President of OPSEU for 11 years and was re-elected five times. She saw the union through the most eventful time in its history. She resigned December 19, 2006.

OPSEU is descended from its predecessor, the Civil Service Association of Ontario[1] and is affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

OPSEU represents workers in more than 500 bargaining units in the following areas:

OPSEU has 20 offices in cities across Ontario. Its head office is located in Toronto.

In October 2008, OPSEU Pension Trust was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine. Later that month, OPSEU was also named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.[2]

Strike History[edit]

The First Strike: 1996[edit]

In 1993, Ontario's first NDP government altered the legislation governing Ontario Public Service employees to allow them to strike. In 1996, Ontario Public Service employees struck legally (Correctional Officers struck illegally in 1979[3]) for the first time in their history.[4] The strike was deeply political; OPSEU rallied against the Mike Harris government's proposed job cuts. The tension between the Government and OPSEU culminated on March 18, 1996 in a confrontation between the OPP and OPSEU strikers at Queen's Park in Toronto. Ontario Provincial Police riot control officers were called in to escort members of parliament who were being prevented from entering the legislature. MPPs were pelted with rocks and paper cups when they tried to cross the line. The confrontation escalated when police began to push through the line of protesters and violence erupted. At least half a dozen protesters were injured.[5]

The Second Strike: 2002[edit]

The second strike between OPSEU and the provincial government lasted 54 days (March 13 to May 5) in 2002. Again, tensions between managers and the union were strong. Although there was no bloody confrontation between the union and the government during this strike, there was a strong division between union members and management.

Talking from a Corrections Stand Point, Correctional Officers


External links[edit]