Bargaining 2019

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Welcome to the spot where you can keep up-to-date on all things pertaining to this round of bargaining. 

Go to FAQs


 

Updates

 


FAQs

1. How can I best participate in the bargaining process?

  • keep informed and know the issues
  • know the status of negotiations
  • engage in mobilization activities
  • know who to go to for information
  • visit UNFOR2025.ca for updates
  • watch your personal email account for updates

2. How can I support my bargaining team?

  • send emails of encouragement to your bargaining team
  • help organize and join in mobilization events
  • wear buttons and hang posters in support of negotiations

3. Can the employer change the terms of our collective agreement during bargaining?

The employer cannot unilaterally change any of the terms of our collective agreement. They can only do so if we are in a strike/lock-position. The terms of the agreement will be changed by mutual agreement once a tentative agreement is reached and agreed to by the members.

4. Now that bargaining is underway, what happens?

The team will meet with the employer at mutually agreed bargaining dates. They will negotiate and sign-off on the items to which both parties agree and continue to negotiate the more contentious demands. This may occur over a number of sets of bargaining meetings. Through the process, some demands from either side will be agreed upon, some modified versions of demands will be agreed upon and some demands may be dropped.

The union and the employer reach a tentative agreement

If the union and the employer are able to reach what each party believes is a satisfactory resolution of their demands, all the agreed-upon changes will be contained in a tentative agreement. The parties sign the tentative agreement but it still must be ratified. In the union’s case, the members will have an opportunity to discuss the tentative agreement with the bargaining team and to vote on it. In the employer’s case, the tentative agreement will likely have to be agreed to by the Alliance Executive Committee.

Once both parties have ratified the agreement it will be signed. Some changes, such as salary increases are usually retroactive to the expiry date of the last agreement. Other changes may only take effect when the new agreement is signed.

The union and the employer don’t reach a tentative agreement

If either the union or the employer decides the bargaining meetings are not going to produce a tentative agreement, either one may apply to the Ontario Ministry of Labour for the services of a conciliation officer (an employee of the Ministry of Labour.  The conciliation officer sets a meeting date to bring the union and employer together. The first step at the meeting is to confirm what are the issues in dispute. The officer then separates the two bargaining teams and works with them to try to reach a tentative agreement. If progress is being made, the officer may schedule additional meetings.

If it is not possible to achieve a tentative agreement with the help of the conciliation officer, the conciliator will advise the Ministry that conciliation has been unsuccessful.

The Minister then writes to the parties indicating that conciliation has not been successful and telling them he/she will not be appointing a conciliation board. This letter is referred to as a "No Board Report".  In Ontario, it is very rare for a conciliation board to be appointed.

After this letter is sent, the union may strike or the employer may lock out the members of the bargaining unit. Unlike federal public service legislation, the Ontario Labour Relations Act allows employers to lock-out their employees after this process has been followed. The parties may mutually agree on an appropriate strike/lock-out deadline and the Minister will issue the "No Board Report" on a date that meets with the parties' request.

Before a strike/lock-out deadline, the conciliator may return to act as a mediator and attempt to assist the parties in reaching a settlement.

5. When do the members get to decide about having a strike?

The union must hold a strike vote before it can call a strike. More than 50 per cent of employees voting must vote in favour of a strike before it can occur.

If a strike or lock-out occurs, the union and the employer can continue to negotiate at any time, sometimes with the assistance of the conciliation officer or another person acting as a mediator. At some point a tentative agreement will be reached. That agreement will be put to a vote of the members and must be ratified by a majority of employees voting. If it is accepted the strike or lock-out ends. It is not accepted, the strike or lock-out continues.

6. Why is it important to vote yes when asked to vote for strike action?

Voting yes to strike action gives the bargaining team more leverage at the bargaining table. The stronger the vote, the stronger the leverage. Voting yes does not mean that a strike will automatically happen but shows that members are ready to take action if necessary in support of their bargaining demands.

Before a vote is held, the bargaining team will hold a membership meeting to review the outstanding demands, what are the latest developments in bargaining and why the team is asking members to vote yes to strike action if necessary.

7. How can I personally prepare for a possible strike?

  • put monies aside to cover expenses in the event of a strike
  • make arrangements for child care, which could include establishing a coordinated child care plan with other colleagues
  • make payment arrangements with banks and financial institutions when strike is imminent – most will agree to accommodations in this situation
  • engage families and friends to support the union’s objectives and the strike efforts
  • develop networks with your colleagues to support each other
  • be open about any concerns or fears you have; your union executive and other members can help you to address them
  • be open to the experience and learn from it as an active participant in social change

8. Are these demands really different from past demands?

A good number of the Local demands are different from past rounds of bargaining. Some examples of new demands include:  language on domestic violence, extensive wording on the work of the joint mental health working group, demands related to workload management, changes to the staffing article, the role of elected officers, professional fees and new salary band levels.

9. Are we likely to strike?

That will be up to the members to decide. Our bargaining team is negotiating with the goal of achieving a settlement that will be beneficial for our members. How far we can push the employer to gain some demands will depend on our members’ willingness to take action, up to and including a strike, to achieve these demands.

10. How is bargaining going? Is the bargaining team hopeful?

Our team approaches every bargaining session with the goal of achieving a good settlement. Negotiations to date have been positive but we still are not at the settlement stage.

11. What are our strongest/biggest demands?

Our team reviews the demands package, that was ratified by the members, as important and we are working hard to achieve the best possible settlement.

12. What is a summary of the list of demands that will impact us most? (i.e., not demands having to do with grammatical or other small changes)

All the demands have an impact on many, if not all members of the bargaining unit. In some cases, the impact may not be immediate but may affect members in future years.

13. Are we getting a raise?

We are still discussing monetary demands but the employer has tabled a wage offer that would be retroactive to May 1, 2016. 

14. Why is bargaining taking so long?

We recognize there are concerns about the pace of negotiations.  Finding mutually available dates for nine people (five on the union side, four on the employer side) has been an issue primarily due to workloads. The members also ratified a substantial demands package that required and continues to require comprehensive discussions with the employer.

15.When are we back at the table?

The next bargaining session is scheduled for February 13 to 16 inclusive.


Do you have a question? 

Send it to Local 2025 secretary Melanie Crescenzi

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