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Press Releases 2007

April 30, 2007

KLEES:  McGuinty Government Cheating

              Court Staff

( NEWMARKET )  Oak Ridges MPP, Frank Klees stood at the entrance of the  Newmarket Co urthouse today, supported by dozens of court staff, who according to Klees, are being abused by the McGuinty government.

Klees called the media conference to make public the conditions under which court staff are being forced to work which, according to Klees, "Would be prosecuted if a private sector employer attempted to treat employees this way."

The issue is centred on an agreement entered into between the McGuinty government and OPSEU, the union representing the employees under the "Flexible Part-Time" model under the collective agreement negotiated in the Spring of 2005.

"While the intent of that agreement was to provide some stability to the part time staff, the result was the opposite. Hundreds of employees are facing hardship because of the unintended consequences of this agreement," said Klees.

"For months, these employees have pleaded to have this agreement restructured, and they've been ignored. Ma n y are single mothers, who incur employment-related expenses, such as childcare and travel expenses, every time they get called in to work, but don't get paid for those hours. The result is financial hardship and stress that is making it impossible for some to cope," said Klees.

Following a meeting with staff two weeks ago, Klees has been focusing attention on the issue in hopes of getting the Attorney General to act.

Klees raised the issue in the legislature, drafted a petition which was circulated to the more than 1400 court staff affected across the province, and delivered a letter to the Attorney General and the Premier last week calling on the government to immediately stop the practice of withholding pay to the affected staff.

According to Klees, more that $115,000.00 is owed to Newmarket Co urt staff alone since January, and more than $1 million is being withheld province-wide.

"This is an issue that has been allowed to drag on far too long," said Klees.  "While the government and the union have been talking about this, people's lives are falling apart. These conditions are unconscionable and must be addressed immediately," said Klees.

-30-

Ontario Hansard

April 30, 2007

 

Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): On April 26, I raised the issue of the more than 1,400 staff employed by the Attorney General in courtrooms across the province who have been working under impossible conditions since the implementation of the terms of the flexible part-time agreement. The Attorney General and the Premier have been ignoring the pleas of these employees for months, and their union was not able to advance a solution.

Responses that employees agreed to the terms is an abdication of responsibility and don't do anything to resolve what for many staff are financial hardship and personal stress, not because of lack of employment but because the Attorney General isn't paying these people for the work they are doing and for which payment is being withheld. At the Newmarket court that translates into an average of $4,000 per employee since January 1. Province-wide, the government is withholding more than $1 million from these employees.

This morning I was joined at the Newmarket courthouse by many of these victims of this unfair agreement. The unintended consequences of that agreement are causing serious harm to hard-working employees. I made public this embarrassing situation, released the letter I delivered to the Attorney General and the Premier last week in which I called on them to act immediately to resolve this matter, and I committed to once again raise this issue in the Ho use today. So, on behalf of the 1,400 staff province-wide, I call on the Attorney General once again to resolve this issue without delay.


Petition and more details