The Local – April 2014

April 18th, 2014


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They want Bacon? We want fair wages!

April 10th, 2014


Information picket

April 10th, 2014


AGO Massive Party info picket marks beginning of countdown to strike: OPSEU

(TORONTO) April 9, 2014 Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) workers will hold an information picket from 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 10, 2014. Calling for respect and a fair contract, the picket will be the first thing visitors see as they arrive for the annual Massive Party fundraiser. The union has filed a No Board, and workers will be in a legal strike position on Friday, May 2, 2014.

WHAT: Information picket
WHERE: Art Gallery of Ontario, 317, Dundas Street West, Toronto
WHEN: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Thursday, April 10, 2014

Contract negotiations at the AGO began in in February 2014, and there is serious concern about the lack of progress at the table. With just four days of bargaining booked before the strike deadline, there is little time left and the two parties are still far apart.

“It’s time for this employer to show some basic respect to their staff,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The reputation of the AGO is at stake here. Being a good workplace is part of being a respected world-class institution.”

Of key concern is the erosion of good jobs. Four full-time and two part-time positions were recently cut in the food and beverage department and have now been contracted out. Part-time work now accounts for two-thirds of the staff positions.

“Staff are deeply committed to the work we do at the AGO. But these jobs are being steadily downgraded through contracting out, cutting full-time positions, reducing hours and shifts.” said Jane Lott, OPSEU Local 535 President.

“We are ready to do what it takes to ensure the AGO remains a place that everyone in Ontario can feel proud to visit,” said Lott.

Updates on the New Collective Agreement

April 3rd, 2012

The Executive Committee of the AGO’s Board of Trustees has ratified the Memorandum of Settlement, which confirms the renewal of Local 535’s full-time and part-time Collective Agreements.

The 1.5% increase to employees’ wages will take effect starting with the April 19, 2012, paycheck. This paycheck will also include all retroactive pay increases from December 1, the start of our current Collective Agreement.

The union promises to have copies of the new Collective Agreement ready for all employees as soon as possible.

Vote Results

March 29th, 2012

Local 535 employees have voted 78% in favour of ratifying Collective Agreement

Ratification Vote

March 27th, 2012

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Highlights of Local 535’s Tentative Deal with the AGO

  • 1.5% wage increase for employees in all departments
  • Increase in clothing allowance and safety shoe allowance for FT members
  • Implementation of drug card for FT members
  • Implementation of clothing allowance for all PT members who work at least 200 hours/year
  • Fewer hours needed for PT members to convert to FT: now 1400 hours/year
  • Full personal day off for PT members
  • Giving members the ability to hold another position at the Gallery

We also fought off 2 major concessions:

  • No changes to the Hours of Work language
  • No 2-tier wage system in Retail

Local 535 and AGO Reach Tentative Deal

March 26th, 2012

After a long day of collective bargaining ahead of the release of the provincial budget, OPSEU Local 535 and the AGO came to a tentative agreement on Monday.

OPSEU representatives and the members of your negotiating team will be presenting the company’s final offer to the membership this Thursday, when members will have the chance to learn more about the key elements of the deal and to vote whether or not to ratify the Collective Agreement.

There will also be drop-in information sessions on Thursday in tandem with the vote, and we recommend that all members come out so you can get up to speed on the offer and to cast your vote. The time and location of the vote will be communicated to you shortly via flyers around the Gallery, e-mail and on the website.

And we want to thank our members for their ongoing support, which has once again helped us make greater gains than would have been possible just a few weeks ago.

2011 Sunshine List

March 23rd, 2012

Ontario’s Ministry of Finance has just released the 2011 Sunshine List, which discloses the salaries of all public sector employees who made more than $100,000 in the year. For the 4th straight year, there are at least 20 AGO managers on the list. See the complete list below:

Surname Given Name Position Salary Paid Taxable Benefits
BOND JOHN Protection Services Director $117,425.22 $416.88
BRIDGENS GARY Deputy Director, Projects and Operations $127,327.20 $495.12
CLEMENTS LISA Associate Director, Office of the Director and Chief Executive Officer and Corporate Secretary $115,111.50 $409.56
CUTHBERTSON JILL Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Publications $109,582.23 $426.36
DOBROSKI SAUNDRA Associate Director, Membership $106,124.20 $413.40
HAUPT MARGARET Deputy Director, Collections Management and Conservation $109,582.20 $426.36
KIEFTE BERNITA Executive Director, Marketing and Communications $181,680.06 $677.76
LANDRETH LISA Associate Director, Individual Giving $107,595.27 $426.36
LOCHNAN KATHARINE Senior Curator and R. Fraser Elliot Curator, Prints and Drawings $136,645.60 $362.44
MAHONEY MICHAEL Executive Director, Corporate Special Projects and Director of Building Operations $168,004.21 $4,821.18
MCKINLEY KELLY Richard and Elizabeth Currie Director, Education and Public Programming $130,002.61 $506.76
MEARNS KIRSTIN General Manager, Merchandise Retailing $116,716.60 $454.92
MIRABELLI ANTONIETTA Deputy Director, Communications $102,793.60 $400.44
O’LEARY DEBORAH Director, Staff and Volunteer Resources $126,065.39 $4,209.48
REID DUANE Associate Director, Staff Relations $102,793.60 $400.44
SAVERINO ROCCO Chief Financial Officer and Director, Information Technology and New Media Services $166,943.46 $545.64
SMITH ELIZABETH Executive Director, Curatorial Affairs $174,010.21 $677.76
ST. MICHAEL SHAWN Executive Director, Development $174,010.30 $677.76
TEITELBAUM MATTHEW Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and Chief Executive Officer $281,008.00 $23,650.51
VANDERMEER ALICIA Director, Visitor Experience $144,311.58 $545.64
VULETA VIRGINIA Deputy Director, Information Technology and New Media Services $102,793.60 $400.44

The Local – March 2012

March 22nd, 2012

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Strike Vote Results

March 6th, 2012

94.6% Local 535 Votes Nearly Unanimously in Favour of Strike
In what was undoubtedly the biggest turnout for a strike vote in recent memory at the AGO, OPSEU Local 535 members let their ballots do the talking by voting 94.6% in favour of a strike mandate Tuesday. “Virtually everyone who was working at the Gallery today came to vote,” observed one member.

The most promising aspect of the vote was that there was broad representation from both part-time and full-time employees in all departments, reinforcing the notion that workers throughout the Gallery are feeling overburdened and underappreciated by AGO management.

The vote was held less than 24 hours after the AGO’s Chief Business Officer Heather Conway e-mailed an update on the labour negotiations to all Gallery staff in an attempt to sugarcoat the proposals put forth by the AGO thus far.

However, her statement failed to persuade the members of Local 535, who demonstrated their unwillingness to accept major concessions such as sacrificing their 2-day weekends and the potential for wage freezes, rollbacks and a 2-tier wage structure not only in Retail but in any department where unionized employees would be impacted.

What’s more, many members are still stinging from the 2-year wage freeze in the most recent Collective Agreement, which expired November 30, 2011, and are unimpressed with the AGO’s offer of a 1% wage increase in their most recent proposal.

Although Local 535 has yet to set a strike date, the result of Tuesday’s vote puts Local 535 members in a legal position to walk off the job in the weeks ahead if the union and AGO management fail to reach an agreement during negotiations.

As well, a strike mandate helps ensure that AGO management takes the union’s demands more seriously and gives the bargaining committee a mandate to continue to bargain towards a fair contract for all unionized employees at the Gallery.

The two sides go back to the bargaining table on Wednesday. Stay tuned in the coming days for further updates.

The Local – Strike Vote Info

March 1st, 2012

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The Local – February 2012

February 27th, 2012

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Collective Agreement Ratified

May 27th, 2010

Thank you again for your support through the bargaining process. You came out in force today and voted IN FAVOUR of our new Collective Agreement.

Full copies of the new Collective Agreement will be printed and distributed to all members shortly.

Info Session & Ratification Vote

May 25th, 2010

In order to ratify the collective agreement, all members must have the opportunity to understand the agreement and to vote on it. To this end we are holding two sessions.

12 noon to 3:30 pm
Jackman Hall

11:30 am -3:30 pm
Jackman Hall

Please try to drop in tomorrow for information and a handout!
Thursday to VOTE!!

Tentative Agreement

May 21st, 2010

We have reached a tentative agreement and will organize a meeting for Thursday May 27 to communicate details of this agreement and hold a ratification vote.

Thank you again for your continued patience and for your unwavering support. Thank you to everyone who came out for the midnight deadline last night and to the rally on Wednesday. It was your voice and fervor that helped us make gains over the past two days. We truly appreciate your hard work and commitment.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Update from OPSEU Communications Dept:

OPSEU local 535 at the AGO has reached a tentative agreement with the employer 16 hours after the 12:01 a.m. strike deadline.

“Gallery workers are proud of the work that they do and committed to their workplace,” said AGO employee and OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “This contract is a welcome indication that the employer is prepared to work with the union.”

AGO employees are back at work pending ratification of the new contract. Details of the agreement and ratification will be distributed in the coming days.
OPSEU represents 177 full-time staff and 266 part-time staff at the AGO.

Noon Update

May 21st, 2010

Negotiations are ongoing. Strike postponed until further notice.

Update 3:30 am

May 21st, 2010

Negotiations are ongoing and the strike deadline has been postponed to 12 noon Friday May 21. Please consider today a regular work day until further notice. Should negotiations come to a halt we will be on strike. Please continue to check your personal email for updates.

Update 2am

May 20th, 2010

Strike deadline postponed to 7 am.

Those scheduled for the 6:30 picket shift should call the hotline at 5:30 am.

Anyone scheduled to work at the AGO tomorrow should prepare for work as usual. Check the hotline/website before leaving for work.

Update 12:04

May 20th, 2010

Extended the deadline a half hour. People are at the picket line.

Picket Preparation

May 20th, 2010

In the event of a strike and if you have not signed up for a strike shift
tomorrow, please join us outside the AGO for picket duty. We need as many
people as possible on the picket line for the first day. Consider it your
work day.

Don’t be suprised if you see media or films crews on the picket line.
Please behave appropriatly and respectully. Your actions will reflect
directly on the union as a whole. Remember though, that you cannot be
penalized for participating in a union picket. You are protected by our
local and OPSEU.

It’s important that none of our members cross the picket line. Doing so
could prolong the strike. Please respect our line and do not cross.

If you are worried about finances, please contact the Hardship Committe
chair Charlie Kettle at [email protected] for assistance with groceries or mortgage payments, etc.

Phone Line

May 20th, 2010

We have set up a phone in line for members to call in for updates. This will be updated by 6pm this evening. Please call 416-928-2494.

This line will have a recorded message for info only. Please do not leave a message.

Picket Shifts Update

May 20th, 2010

A quick reminder to take home anything you feel you might need before you leave the AGO this evening. Negotiations are still moving ahead but we are still quite far apart and the likelihood of us reaching an agreement by midnight appears slim.

Be sure you know who to contact on your departmental phone tree and remember to check this site for updates.

Picket Shifts

Some OPSEU members have been unable to attend meetings and have requested an alternative process for signing up for picket duty. If you have been unable to attend a meeting but would like to participate in the picket, please select a shift from those listed below and email your selections to either [email protected] or [email protected] We will ensure that your names are added to the picket roster. Membership and Strike Pay forms will be available from picket captains when you arrive. You must complete the forms in order to receive compensation for picket duty.

Friday May 21st
12am – 2 am
6:30am – 10:30am
8:00am – 12pm
11am – 3pm
3pm – 7pm

Saturday May 22 and Sunday May 23
9am – 1pm
12pm – 4pm
2pm – 6pm

Monday May 24 (holiday)
8:30am – 12:30pm
11:30am – 3:30pm
1:30pm – 5:30pm

Tuesday May 25
6:30am – 10:30am
10:30am – 2:30pm
2:30pm – 6:30pm

In the event of a strike, AGO email accounts will be blocked. To facilitate communication, members should provide their personal email addresses to Paula if they have not already done so, at [email protected]

May 20 – Noon Update

May 20th, 2010

A quick note to let you know that we are continuing with contract negotiations and are still moving ahead.
For those members with any specific needs, Local 535 has set up a hardship committee to help out with financial, medical or other accomodations on a case by case basis. Please contact Charlie Kettle, chair of the Hardship Committee at [email protected]
Check back throughout the day for bargaining updates.
REMINDER: Be sure to take your breaks, go for your full lunch and leave promptly at the end of your shift. And make sure you know who to contact in your phone tree before you leave work today.

May 20 Update

May 20th, 2010

A huge thank you to everyone who attended last evening’s rally outside the AGO. The support we received from our members, other OPSEU Locals, the OPSEU Greater Toronto Area Council, the Canadian Auto Workers Union, the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, the United Steel Workers Union, friends, family and Gallery visitors demonstrated the strength of our position.

Rhythms of Resistance and Faith Nolan had over 100 people marching up and down Dundas Street waving signs and shouting a clear message to the AGO: “Our members deserve job security and full-time work and get get we’re going to Stand Up and Fight Back!”

We headed back to the bargaining table this morning to fight for a fair contract and will keep you posted on our progress through the day. Each department has been assigned a lead contact person and they will activate their phone trees as of midnight tonight whether and agreement has been reached or if we are going on strike. Expect a call. You can also check this site at midnight to confirm whether we are going on strike or not.

The bargaining team will be in contact with the individuals who signed up for the 12-2am shift on Friday around 11pm with an update on our progress.

After yesterday’s meeting there were a few outstanding items in need of clarification:

Strike Pay

All members (full and part time) will receive $30 for each 4 hour shift put in on the picket line, up to a maximum of $150 per week (20 hours). So, if you are only able to do one shift in a week, you will receive $30.

Each week will be scheduled from Sunday to Saturday. If you walk the picket line on Friday or Saturday this week, you will receive $30 for each shift. So far we have posted picket shifts to Tuesday May 25th. In the event of a strike you will receive instructions on how to sign up for shifts in the later part of next week through the scheduling committee.


In the event of a strike your benefits with Desjardins cease. OPSEU provides Life Insurance for all members in the event of a strike, but no other medical, dental or elective expenses will be covered for the duration of the strike. In the event of an emergency please contact the Hardship Committee.

Strike Headquarters

In the event of a strike we will have a mobile Strike Headquarters for the Strike Committee to base their operations. Co-chairs of this committee are Wendy Ng and Jane Rhodes. They will oversea the Finance Committee, Hardship Committee and Communications/Mobilization Committee. More information will be shared in the event of a strike.

Take Action!

May 20th, 2010

Rally tonight!

May 19th, 2010

Rally day! We are very excited for our rally this afternoon, I hope you can join us. The sun is shining, the music will be playing and the ice cream truck will be stocked and ready for customers. That’s right, I said it. Come to the rally this afternoon and all Local 535 members will receive a ticket for a free treat from Lickety’s Ice Cream Truck. We have received an overwhelming response of support from the Labour Council, other OPSEU locals and friends from trade unions across the city. With music from Rhythms of Resistance and Faith Nolan our rally is sure to be a blockbuster success. See you there!

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May 19 Update

May 19th, 2010

Departmental Leads

Each department has been assigned a lead contact person. Please ensure that this individual has been in touch with you to get your up to date contact info. They will set up phone trees to communicate whether we will be going on strike as of 12:01am May 21. Please see the department leads below:

Membership/Development/Marketing — Paula Whitmore
Curatorial (3rd Floor and P&D) — Maureen Boles (Updated)
Design & Exhibitions — Malene Hjorngaard
IT/Finance/Communications — Sue Boyle
Library/Cinematech — Debbie Mills
Education/Media Services — Jane Lott
Program Registration — Jim Gibson
Visitor Services (Front of House) — Christine Endrulat (Updated)
Exhibition Services — Ruth Jones
Conservation/Shipping Dock — Scott Cameron
Plant Operations — Dahya Naidu
Facilities Services — Mike Ronco
Retail — Steven Browne
FRANK (front & back) — Leslie Wilson
Cafe (front & back) — Anthony Bullock

Picket Captains

Brian Groombridge
Ruth Jones
Shiralee Hudson
Joanna Dang
Aaron Knight

Picket Shifts

Members can sign up for strike shifts by contacting the Strike Committee if they aren’t able to attend the meeting on Wednesday, May 19th.

Friday May 21st
12am – 2 am
6:30am – 10:30am
8:00am – 12pm
11am – 3pm
3pm – 7pm

Saturday May 22 and Sunday May 23
9am – 1pm
12pm – 4pm
2pm – 6pm

Monday May 24 (holiday)
8:30am – 12:30pm
11:30am – 3:30pm
1:30pm – 5:30pm
Tuesday May 25
6:30am – 10:30am
10:30am – 2:30pm
2:30pm – 6:30pm

Local 535 Issues Flyer

May 18th, 2010

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May 17 Update

May 17th, 2010

Tuesday Morning Info Picket

We need your help! Please come in early tomorrow morning (May 18th) to help hand out information to the public between 8 and 10am.

Strike Register

If you weren’t able to attend Monday’s meeting, please stop by Off the Wall between 1:30 and 3:30 pm on Wednesday May 19th. We need you to fill out the OPSEU Member Personal Information Form and the Strike Register so that you can be paid in the event of a strike. You can also sign up for picket shifts from Friday to Tuesday.

Strike Pay

Strike pay has increased. In the event of a strike union members will receive pay for time on the picket line. All members can work 20 hours per week (4 hours per day) and will receive $30 per day, up to $150 per week for the first 4 weeks of a strike. After 4 weeks the pay increases to $48 per day, up to $240 per week. Members will also receive $4.80 per day for each dependant, up to $24 per week.

If you are interested in participating on a committee please contact Jane Lott at [email protected] or Paula Whitmore at [email protected]

The Local # 7 — May 14

May 14th, 2010

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The Local #6 — May 10

May 10th, 2010

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The Local #5 — April 14

April 14th, 2010

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The Local #4 — March 25

March 25th, 2010

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The Local #3 — March 8

March 8th, 2010

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The Local #2 — January 25

January 25th, 2010

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The Local #1

January 7th, 2010

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