Reminder to all members!
The OPSEU Workers of Colour Caucus Region 5 annual picnic is this Saturday, August 20, 2016 at Christie Pitts Park from 11:30 - 5:00pm. Lunch is served at 12:30. The event is free and open to members and their families. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come out and celebrate the summer with OPSEU!
Event Date Friday, November 18, 2016 - 7:00pm to Sunday, November 20, 2016 - 12:00pm
OPSEU’s Equity Committees and Caucuses invite you to submit your application to attend the 2016 OPSEU Human Rights Conference: "New Realities, Different Directions." We look forward to meeting you!
This event can accommodate approximately 115 members who will be selected to participate in the conference by the Human Rights Conference Planning Committee. The selection process will endeavour to invite a diverse group of attendees, representative of the many groups within our membership and their distribution among our regions. We are aiming for a rich mix of backgrounds and points of view among the participants.
The conference will focus on the impact of current immigration laws within the labour movement. The topics explored will include, but are not limited to, discussions on key human rights issues such as islamophobia and the criminalization and exploitation of racialized communities. In addition, participants will also be asked to think critically about current misconceptions surrounding migrant workers, immigrants and refugees. The overall goal will be for participants to go home with ideas for immediate action in their communities.
Do not miss this opportunity to network, learn, share experiences and have some fun. Please submit your completed application by e-mail to email@example.com or fax to the Equity Unit no later than midnight, September 5, 2016. Please note that we will be using an anonymous selection process and will be applying the criteria as set out on pages 5 - 7 of this application. Confirmation will be issued to the selected participants in September. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Download the Call package: Human Rights Conference Call Package.pdf
Dr. Wayne Lewchuk has delivered a stinging rebuke to the Ontario government over implementation of its Social Assistance Management System (SAMS). In a 55-page report released July 19, the McMaster University economics professor labelled SAMS a “health and safety disaster.”
The Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) rolled out the system in November 2014, ignoring warnings from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) that SAMS was deeply flawed. Subsequent malfunctions meant thousands of social assistance recipients failed to receive payments and suffered severe financial hardship.
However, until now, scant attention has been paid to SAMS’ impact on staff. Lewchuk’s report was commissioned by OPSEU in reaction to numerous ongoing concerns from frontline workers in the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works.
“Heavy workloads, error-plagued software and the inability to realize a vision of work that had been promised all combined to create a toxic environment,” Lewchuk says in his report. “Workers at ODSP continue to be exposed to elevated levels of workplace stress, job strain and effort-reward imbalance.” This has led to “deteriorating physical and mental health and deterioration in home life” for employees, he found.
Dylan Lineger, OPSEU co-chair of the committee for employee relations at MCSS, believes the human impacts of SAMS cannot be underestimated or ignored.
“Dr. Lewchuk has shone a light on the health cost our members are paying due to the ministry’s decision to implement a flawed system,” said Lineger. “We’re grateful to Dr. Lewchuk for his report and hope it convinces the employer that there’s a health crisis at ODSP.”
One of Lewchuk’s key recommendations is to provide “the same attention given to health and safety concerns when new factory technology is introduced, or when workers are asked to work with new chemicals and toxins” when new models of work organization or new computer systems are introduced. “They can be just as toxic and damaging to health,” he says in his report.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas believes the root of the SAMS debacle lay in outsourcing the new system.
“Instead of creating something in-house that would build on the years of experience of workers in the field,” he noted, “this private sector-obsessed government brought in an outsider. And they bungled it completely – at a steep cost to social assistance recipients, workers and taxpayers.”