With Ministry of Labour ? April 12, 2006
Present: Julie Hare, Senior Advisor, Stakeholder Relations to Minister Peters; Rob Walters, Senior Policy Advisor to Minister Peters; Ministry of Labour Representative (no business card provided); Gerry Sutton; Andy Rotsma; Dave Ferguson
The meeting was held in the Minister’s boardroom in the Ministry of Labour offices in Toronto, and lasted the scheduled hour. All OASIS representatives indicated they believed the meeting had been positive. The following is a summary of the meeting, not a verbatim recording.
- Gerry opened the meeting by providing general information concerning OASIS.
- Dave then provided a briefing on the coordinated bargaining activities by unions within the ds sector over the past year and a half. (The briefing document is attached below for reference)
- There were questions however for the balance of the briefing the Ministry rep’s listened, and in fact indicated that had no mandate to do other than that.
- The second item on the agenda was WSIB & Andy provided the briefing on this. (The briefing document is attached below for reference)
- There were many more questions concerning this item & the rates being charge, and including comments of surprise concerning the discrepancies and the ?opting out? option previously available.
- The Ministry suggested that the info be taken directly to WSIB, as they do not have authority over the WSIB.
- Dave requested direction for a contact to do this.
- Dave also commented on the fact that the Minister had requested the detailed information that we were bringing forward. Julie confirmed she would relay the information to the Minister.
- Andy committed to providing ?WSIB Detail Code? information to them after the meeting.
Discussion Points ? Meeting With Ministry of Labour
OASIS Labour Relations Committee re Coordinated Bargaining
April 12, 2006
- There is a coordinated bargaining strategy from CUPE & possibly OPSEU for the developmental services sector in 2007.
- OPSEU appears to be a little slower organizing at a provincial level, however recent meetings indicate that OPSEU & CUPE are working more closely on this matter than in the past year.
- CUPE had all 35 Locals file both a ?Notice to Bargain? and a ?Notice for Conciliation? together on January 10th of last year. Reportedly all eventually did settle, however this was after leadership from OASIS and the legal firm of Hicks Morley, on a provincial basis.
- This strategy was utilized again by CUPE across the Province
- CUPE had coordinated ?Provincial Demands? that were being presented at the bargaining table across the province, and are likely an indicator of what will be demanded in 2007.
- The provincial demands included:
- A benchmark wage for the most populous full-time hourly wage to $25.45 per hour (for one agency that was bargaining, this translated into a $4.5 million increase in the first year, and $5.0 million increase in the second year over its current operating budget)
- An adjustment of all other wage categories either above or below the target of $25.45
- Economic and inflation increases each year of 4%, with an expiry date of March 31, 2007 (as noted, setting the stage for a larger work stoppage in the province with a higher number of agencies involved)
- Entitlement to enrollment in the ?multi-sector pension plan? – this is a pension plan run by both CUPE & SEIU
- Agreement to sign a ?Letter of Understanding on Central Bargaining?, whereby the employer also agrees to work with both OASIS & CLO to develop a structure for this, and also to work with MCSS to develop resources required for implementation of this
- Further, this central bargaining process would commit employers to lobby MCSS for resources to allow employers to bargain wages, benefits, pensions & common job titles
- Union locals were initially directed to not bargain any of the provincial demands, thereby setting the stage for a breakdown in bargaining. It was this area that was in our opinion, ?bad faith bargaining?.
- OASIS LR committee took on a central role for information sharing and facilitating meetings of employers involved in bargaining and facing the coordinated union strategy.
- Agencies actively discussed the option of filing ?unfair labour bargaining? complaints with the OLRB against their Locals.
- With guidance from Hicks Morley, & facilitated by OASIS, agencies were provided with a set of questions designed to gather evidence of the union’s bad faith bargaining activity. This activity in effect put the unions on notice of the employer’s option, and appeared to thwart the coordinated bargaining strategy of CUPE, allowing each Local to bargain and achieve agreements.
- However, agencies are facing a real, coordinated threat of employees striking April 1, 2007.
- CUPE has begun coordinating regional meetings across the province with employers, to begin discussing ?? how we can best strengthen the services we provide, improve front line staff wages and mitigate the potential negative outcomes arising from the government’s restructuring plan.?
- Obviously the intention of the unions is to attract both media and political attention during an election year.
- The unions are clearly aware of the institution closure initiative and the next Provincial election campaign coinciding with this strategy.
>REQUESTS TO GOVERNMENT:
- OASIS, as a member of the Provincial Network, are actively lobbying for additional funding for the sector that could be applied towards increased wages for the sector. A Business Case was developed and presented to Minister Pupatello last December, and in turn to the Premier, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Labour.
- Should work stoppages arise, agencies may request ?back to work? or ?essential services? type legislation be implemented for the sector.