SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Michael Bushong, PR.com Newswire, David Smith, Tim Crawford, Kevin Benedict

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Media Release: Ontario's Public Service Unions Say No to Cuts and Concessions

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 04/30/14 -- Leaders and members from four of Ontario's Public Service Unions, representing more than 80 per cent of Ontario government employees, rallied in front of the Ontario legislature today to fight the cuts to health benefits of their members, retirees and families, job security, salary progression, and retiree benefits.

The unions signed an historic Solidarity Pact, and agreed to support AMAPCEO, which is facing unprecedented claw-backs, concessions and cuts at the bargaining table plus an aggressive act of the Government to request a "No Board" and force labour disruption. The unions say their pact is a message to the government that they will not be a scapegoat for financial problems that they did not create.

"This Government wants to be strong and demonstrate toughness to other broader public sector employers in a run-up to a potential provincial election, but leadership is not about waging war on workers," said the President of AMAPCEO, Gary Gannage. "Other public service unions realize that their members will be the next target if this employer gets away with the devastating cuts it is seeking from AMAPCEO. We know solidarity works and together we won't allow the government to pick us off one at a time." Gannage continued "Public service workers are our friends, our neighbours and consumers who keep local economies and small businesses vibrant. These concessions will affect middle-class families across this province during fragile economic times. All we want is a fair and reasonable agreement."

Gannage was joined on the front lawn of Queen's Park by the leaders and members of three other bargaining groups: OPSEU, the Association of Law Officers of the Crown (ALOC) and the Professional Engineers Government of Ontario (PEGO).

OPSEU's President, Smokey Thomas, said the government's vindictive attitude has increased the resolve of his members to work with the other unions in the Ontario Public Service.

"AMAPCEO members and by extension all public employees are being used as pawns in Kathleen Wynne's re-election campaign," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "We won't be used as pawns. We will lead by defending public services in our communities. This is a needless and unwarranted attack on our workforce. The Government should be ashamed of themselves."

The President of PEGO, Ping Wu, promised, "Our members will support their colleagues in the negotiations to help protect the current provisions of their collective agreements and ensure health benefits for all."

Sean Hanley, the President of ALOC, stated the convergence of the four unions is about protecting public services in Ontario. "Everyone in public service has made sacrifices. We come together with our colleagues to stand up for fairness and to protect health care and retirement benefits for our members and their families."

Despite 94% support during its first strike vote last month, AMAPCEO's negotiations, despite mediation, are deadlocked., The government requested that the Ministry of Labour issue a "No Board" report. ALOC is currently in arbitration, and the OPSEU and PEGO agreements expire in December of this year.

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.

For information on AMAPCEO OPS bargaining visit www.iminAMAPCEO.ca.

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