Date: September 1, 2023

Greetings Sisters and Brothers,

We have a mixed report from the bargaining table.

There has been some progress but also some frustration. The last update we provided and the last time we spoke directly with you was in the beginning of February of this year. We had just finished dealing with the Employer’s decision to implement a pay raise without negotiation in the middle of bargaining. We said at the time that we were frustrated by that move on the Employer’s part and that we felt it met the threshold of an Unfair Labour Practice. At the same time it didn’t make much sense for us to refuse a wage increase so we decided we would proceed with it as long as it was agreed that we could still bargain for more. The Employer wrote to us to say, in very careful language, that they agreed; we could still bargain for more for the 2022 wage increase.

We then continued to bargain for non-monetary items, and a few that had monetary parts to them, planning that we would be able to resolve bargaining and come back to you in the spring with a proposed new collective agreement. However, we slowed down when the Employer dug their heels in on a few take aways including changing how statutory holiday hours are counted and refused to give us anything on a few items that dealt with safety and training. So, we didn’t get back to the money as quickly as we had hoped.

Then there were delays in getting meetings and some changes in the players on the other side of the table so it was mid summer before we were talking about money. It was a disappointment but not a surprise that when we got to the money discussion the Employer’s representatives and the new players at the table didn’t remember agreeing that we would talk about putting some more money on the 2022 wage increase as well as talking about a wage increase for 2023. We also want to add National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to the collective agreement. After a very brief exchange of proposals and an offer from the Employer that we could never agree to recommend to you they said the people at the table didn’t have the authority to offer anything more. So, we had to break off and we wrote to the top level on the Employer side to complain. It’s an Unfair Labour Practice to come to the table without the players in place to make a deal. It’s not an outrageous one, it’s only a delay, but it’s frustrating.

Since then, we have exchanged some more letters and had some discussions outside of bargaining and the two sides are now scheduled to meet on the 26th and 27th of September to continue bargaining and, with any luck, to get a proposal that we can bring back to you for a vote. The Employer has remembered the discussions about putting some more into the wage increases and assured us they will come to the table with the authority to bargain. We don’t expect to come away with a massive increase but we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to come back with the Employer’s best offer. After that it will be up to you, the members, to decide if it’s enough to make a deal.

We will be holding an information meeting via zoom at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday the 5th of September. The link has been provided to members directly via email. Please join us if you can and bring any questions or comments you may have. Thank you for your patience and we look forward to seeing you next Tuesday.

On behalf of the Committee, if you have questions about bargaining and/or your collective agreement contact the Member Resource Centre (MRC) by phone at 1-888-999-7348 ext 2298, by email at [email protected], or by using the contact form.

Your participation in your Union makes us all strong!

In Solidarity,

The SEIU-West Luther Care Group Home Bargaining Committee

Arin Blair (Unit Chair) • Laura Fleming (Unit Vice Chair) • Staff: Kelly Reynolds (Union Representative) • Cam McConnell (Lead Negotiator)

Click here for a printable copy of this Bargaining Bulletin

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