Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Your SEIU-West bargaining committee and the Employer met on October 23, 2017 November 7, 2017 to bargain for a new Collective Agreement.
On the second day of bargaining, the Employer took the extraordinary step of stating that we were at an impasse and left the bargaining table. The parties will now write to the Minister of Labour to request the assistance of a Labour Relations Officer to provide conciliation services in order to assist the parties to resolve Collective Bargaining.
The Union tabled 43 proposals at the start of negotiations. Most of those were minor changes to the collective agreement to address errors or simplify language. The majority of the proposals were resolved very quickly.
However, there were a few substantive proposals regarding working conditions that proved harder to resolve. The Employer would not consider any of them despite amendments proposed by the Union.
On November 7th the Union still had nine proposals outstanding. Some were money proposals that dealt with pay premiums (for example a shift differential increase) and some were working conditions proposals related to the issues listed above.
The Employer asked the Union to present a complete financial proposal including anything that would increase pay to the members either in the form of normal wages or paid days off or premiums. The Union had already discussed with the Employer the implementation of enhanced benefits and concluded that it could not be achieved in this round.
The Union tabled a proposal that included a modest wage increase, increases to the vehicle allowance and shift differential, and articles to address the workplace concerns mentioned above.
The Employer responded that they could not afford to fund any form of wage increase.
The Union tabled a second proposal that addressed the Employer’s concerns but which we felt we could recommend to the members. We said if we could proceed with that we would withdraw all other outstanding proposals. We did advise that if we were not able to resolve bargaining on the basis of our proposal we reserved the right to revert to our previous positions.
We waited for a counter proposal while the Employer left to meet amongst themselves briefly then returned and informed our bargaining committee that they could no longer bargain with us and that they would write to the minister to request conciliation.
Your bargaining committee was shocked and disappointed. We advised the Employer that we would revert to our previous positions on all outstanding matters, and we would seek direction from the membership.
There is a Unit Meeting scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at the Treatment Centre. Your committee requests that all members who can attend, come to the meeting to ask any questions you may have, provide your input, and discuss what steps to take now.
We look forward to meeting with you on November 16th.
Your SEIU-West Bargaining Committee:
Peggy Parenteau, Barb Landry (Union Representative), Cam McConnell (Negotiations Officer)