Inspectors for the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) have been on strike since July 21.
Today, some inspectors, along with union representatives were at MPP Vic Fedeli’s constituency office, asking him to tell TSSA to get back to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair deal.
Tara Maszczakiewicz is OPSEU’s Regional Vice President, Region 6. She says picket lines have taken place across the region, including Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie.
“We’re making sure that people in Ontario know that inspectors are not regularly inspecting elevators, ski lift equipment, amusement rides, or any fuel sources,” she says. “They’re not being inspected by TSSA inspectors because the employer walked away from the [bargaining] table on July 20. The employer is telling the public that they gave a final offer and is waiting on the union to respond. The union did respond on July 20 and the employer walked away from the table. It’s simply a false statement and union busting strategy that this employer uses as part of their tactics to break their union.”
Alexandra Campbell, a spokesperson with TSSA, says they have been working very hard to come to an agreement with the union and they’re concerned with OPSEU’s “deliberately false communications that suggest they’re not bargaining in good faith.”
“Our objective is to have a fair and reasonable first collective agreement in place for inspectors. We value their work and we treat all our employees fairly,” she writes in an e-mail statement. “OPSEU did not respond to our final proposal and they did not take the offer to ratification. They have not been clear why they are on strike. The TSSA bargaining team provided OPSEU a full proposal which includes all terms for a first collective agreement and offers inspectors excellent health, dental and pension benefits, and salary increases for a multi-year agreement. Given the reasonable and fair contract offer we do not see why inspectors have chosen to go on strike.”
Campbell counters that it’s OPSEU who stopped bargaining and went out on strike, and their team still hasn’t heard from them. She says they’re hopeful the strike won’t last long and they can come to an agreement.
Maszczakiewicz says they’re picketing at Vic Fedeli’s office because she says the government appoints the president and vice president of the board that governs TSSA.
“Last time there was a new appointment was under the [Kathleen] Wynne government. They can do a changing of the guard, and they can bring in new upper-management that can provide dignity and respect to these workers.”
In an e-mail statement, MPP Vic Fedeli says the process is between the parties involved.
“The Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery (MPBSD) is aware that TSSA is working towards developing a first Collective Agreement with both the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the Society of United Professionals (the Society),” writes Fedeli. “The collective agreement process is an independent process between TSSA, OPSEU and the Society. In response to the strike, TSSA has advised that it has prepared contingencies to ensure public safety in Ontario is not affected and impact to business is minimized.”