February 24, 2021
For member information – Bargaining Update
Your OPSEU bargaining team met virtually with the management team on January 6 and 7, 2021 to negotiate and renew your Collective Agreement. The management team gave us notice at the beginning that they would file for conciliation after two days of bargaining and cancel the remaining scheduled bargaining dates. The two sides further met virtually on Feb 16 and 17, 2021 with the assistance of a conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour. The goal of the conciliator is to try and bring the two sides closer together.
Local 331’s team has been frustrated with the minimal movement from the management side. We worked very hard to engage management in an attempt to arrive at what we believe to be a fair, equitable and respectful Collective Agreement.
The Employer frequently states that they value their employees and acknowledge the hard work that our members do, especially throughout the pandemic. However, the Employer’s proposals represent significant take-aways from the existing language and rights in the Collective Agreement. Your Team could not agree with those proposals.
On monetary issues, the Employer’s position is that they are bound by the compensation restrictions under Bill 124, which limits increases to total compensation (wages and benefits) by 1% per year. OPSEU is challenging the validity of Bill 124 in the courts, which could have an impact on any final arbitrated decision should we be successful. In the absence of an immediate ability to negotiate beyond these limitations, we were hopeful the Employer would make an effort to agree to non-monetary language changes that could improve working conditions and rights. Beyond a few minor issues, that didn’t really happen.
By the end of the second day of conciliation, it was clear we were at an impasse again. Without much in the way of counterproposals from the employer, the team felt we were being asked to bargain with ourselves by eliminating proposals with nothing in return. Therefore your Team asked the Conciliator to issue a “No Board Report” which opens the path to Arbitration and/or Mediation to resolve key outstanding issues. Any decision by an arbitrator will be binding on both parties.
Details of bargaining are confidential, so we cannot share with you any of the specifics from the table. It is important that accurate communication occur so that everyone has a clear understanding of the steps during this process. We will continue to keep you updated as we move through this process in the months ahead.
Your Bargaining Team
Leanne Beaudry, Sarah Carde, Denise Wagler-Allan, Tracy Bray, Gabriela Turnbull, Jackie Schumacher, Jonathan Leung, Rick Janson (Staff Negotiator)
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