News

Wynne heckled over union negotiations

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Premier Kathleen Wynne announces a package of initiatives to raise awareness of sexual violence and sexual harassment in Toronto on Thursday December 4, 2014. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

Premier Kathleen Wynne announces a package of initiatives to raise awareness of sexual violence and sexual harassment in Toronto on Thursday December 4, 2014. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

A union heckler interrupted Premier Kathleen Wynne Tuesday as she outlined her vision for the country in a speech to think-tank Canada 2020.

The Wynne government is in the midst of difficult negotiations with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and its members have held numerous pickets at government MPP offices.

As Wynne began her keynote speach at the Ottawa luncheon event — A Vision For Canada at 150 — a man yelled out that the Ontario public service deserves a reasonable collective agreement.

“OPS bargaining is not a fair process on your side of the table,” the man shouted, adding the government is demanding concessions from workers, including those who are injured on the job.

Wynne veered from her own speech to say that her government is working with its “public sector partners” and that she is a strong believer in the collective bargaining process.

“There will always be disagreements,” Wynne said, as the man continued his heckling. “We will always have discussions whether it’s an internal discussion like this one or whether it’s among the provinces, there will be disagreements.”

On its website, OPSEU has complained that the Wynne government wants to end the practice of topping up employee salaries for the first 65 days off the job after a workplace accident.

The WSIB provides 85% of a worker’s salary and the government tops it up to 100%.

The government would also end the practice of accumulating vacation time while off work on WSIB, OPSEU says.

The Wynne government has refused to move off its opening monetary positions, leaving talks at a virtual standstill, the OPSEU website says.

antonella.artuso@sunmedia.ca


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