Skip to content
Back to Labour Actions

OPSEU Local 216



Arrell Youth Centre

Start of Dispute:

End of Dispute:


Update: August 22, 2018 – Hamilton youth facility workers vote in favour of contract, ending four month lockout

HAMILTON – The four month lockout at the Arrell Youth Centre in Hamilton is over. The 60 members of OPSEU Local 216 have voted narrowly in favour of an agreement reached on Monday.

“These youth correctional workers deserve to hold their heads up high,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “They know the work they do matters. They know the work they do is incredibly important to the youth they support and to the community. And by standing strong together, they got the respect they deserve.

“This is a sorry employer who chose to bully their own workers. This behaviour will not be soon forgotten.”

The members were locked out on April 27, 2018 after refusing to accept significant clawbacks to their contract, but they forced the employer to back down.

They rejected a tentative agreement reached earlier this month forcing the employer back to the table.

“Every one of our union’s 155,000 members is proud of these women and men for fighting for decent wages and working conditions,” said OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida.

“And as a Hamilton resident and a correctional officer, I’m proud of them for fighting for quality rehabilitation and for sending a clear message to this employer.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931

On April 26, after demanding that the 60 members of OPSEU Local 216 take a significant cut to their health plan, the employer of Arrell Youth Centre locked out their workers, creating a chaotic situation.

What’s at stake in this dispute?
Health and safety. Youth justice workers are being bullied into accepting wholesale cuts to their health plan, which will cost them each up to $1200 a year.
Decent work. The Liberals have passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The employer tabled a 2019 increase for the lowest paid workers – cooks, maintenance and secretaries – at less than $15.00 an hour. Shame!
Fairness. Management has provided no reason for asking our members to make less for doing the same work, many with families and years of experience. Why is the employer attacking the already modest conditions of work?

How you can help:

Join picket activities 
​​Contact Len Mancini for the latest information on rotating pickets at 905-317-9366.

Make a donation
​​To make a donation, cheques should be made out to: OPSEU Local 216, with note, “donation for striking workers.” Please mail cheques to the OPSEU Hamilton Regional office to the attention of Len Mancini, Local 216 president, 505 York Blvd., 2nd Fl, Hamilton, ON, L8R 3K4

Contact elected representatives     
​​MCSS Minister, Michael Coteau at, tel: 416-494-6856. Tweet @coteau, #ArrelLockout.

Tell them that this labour dispute is an attack on working people. If the Liberals are serious about protecting decent work in our communities, they must intervene to stop this unnecessary lockout.

Contact Arrell Youth Centre Chief Executive Officer 
Tell Kim Ciavarella to get back to the table and bargain a fair contract with members of OPSEU Local 216. She can be contacted at:, tel: 905-912-1101.

Hamilton – After demanding that the 60 members of OPSEU Local 216 take a significant cut to their health plan, the managers of Arrell Youth Centre have locked out their workers, creating a chaotic situation.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says it’s outrageous that the employer has allowed the youth being held at the facility to be caught in the middle.

“This employer should be ashamed of using kids in dire need of help in a powerplay against our members,” Thomas said. “Our members deeply care about the kids they’re looking after.”

“This lockout creates a massive amount of needless uncertainty and instability for these youth,” said Len Mancini, the chairperson of the Local 216 bargaining committee. “They’re being uprooted and sent away from what’s essentially their home.

“Locking us out isn’t accomplishing anything except making the rehabilitation of these youth much more difficult,” said Mancini. “When they return to our communities, we’ll all suffer the consequences.”

Arrell Youth Centre is a residential detention centre in Hamilton that provides secure custody and program services for up to 16 male youth. For the past two years, it has been operating at capacity. The members of Local 216 have been without a contract since April 1, 2017.

Despite the fact the centre’s CEO received $20,000 in wage increases between 2015 and 2017, management is demanding significant concessions to Local 216’s already modest health care provisions.

“It’s shameful that while the centre’s CEO climbs higher and higher up the Sunshine List, these members are being asked to take home less and less,” said Thomas.

The members have no WSIB coverage and already pay the entire cost of their long-term disability. And now they’re being pressured to pay up to $1,200 each a year for a health plan that covers less than their previous plan. The members asked to see financial justification for the health plan cuts, but management flatly refused and has now locked them out.

“These members at Arrell Youth Centre help keep our streets safe and sound,” said OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, a Hamilton native and a Correctional Officer. “It’s difficult and dangerous work and they don’t even have WSIB coverage.

“The least these members deserve is a decent health plan. Instead, they’re getting a slap in the face. It’s a disgrace.”

For more information, click here. 

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap