The Society is offering its support to OPSEU Local 548 workers at the Toronto Bail Program. The workers are facing a potential lockout due to their employer’s unwillingness to bargain in good faith.
You can read the letter of support from Society President Scott Travers below:
To the members of the OPSEU Local 548,
The Society of United Professionals represents the Staff Lawyers at Legal Aid Ontario who share many of the same vulnerable clients as the Toronto Bail Program.
Across Toronto many of the LAO staff lawyer’s clients do not have anyone who they can contact to act as a bail supervisor, many are new immigrants, many have mental health issues and many are fleeing domestic violence. Without the Bail Program, it becomes much more difficult for Legal Aid Lawyers to provide the courts and tribunals with assurance there will be community supervision for LAO clients and it is therefore more difficult for their clients to receive proper justice.
The unwillingness of the employer, the Toronto Bail Program, to negotiate in good faith an agreement with the workers of OPSEU Local 548 is deeply disturbing.
The Toronto Bail Program is funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General, the same Ministry that funds LAO. The Toronto Bail Program workers have similar, reasonable demands as those of our members at LAO – fair workloads, job security, decent benefits, and proper health and safety. The employer should bargain these issues in good faith.
The Bail Program provides extremely important services for vulnerable individuals and a lockout by the employer would have terrible implications for the ability of these people to find fair and just treatment by the criminal justice system.
Given the enormous impact Toronto Bail Program workers have on the lives of the clients of the Society members at LAO, and their similar workplace concerns, the Society of United Professionals offers its full support of the Bail Program workers of OPSEU Local 548 and calls on the employer to bargain in good faith to avoid a lockout and to reach a fair agreement.