When either the employer or the union decide they are at a point in collective bargaining where a collective agreement cannot be achieved at the bargaining table, either party can send a notice of impasse to the other party and to the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety.
The notice has to set out the essential services that in the opinion of the sending party need to be maintained during a strike.
Three days after receiving the notice, the other party has to respond with their opinion of the essential services that need to be maintained.
When the Minister receives the notice of impasse, the Minister must appoint a Labour Relations Officer, a Special Mediator or a Board of Conciliation.
There is a sixty day window to determine if the outstanding disputes between the parties can be settled.
The Labour Relations Officer, Special Mediator or the Board of Conciliation meet with each side (SAHO and SEIU-West), separately at first, to find out a bit of history on bargaining, what has been agreed between the parties, and what are the issues in dispute.
Then they set up meetings with each side, sometimes in different rooms in the same building or sometimes via teleconference calls, and shuttle back and forth between the two sides. Where the parties agree, both sides may together meet with the Labour Relations Officer, a Special Mediator or a Board of Conciliation.
The goal is to find out if there is find common ground between the parties and, if there is, push or encourage the two sides to compromise on their positions to reach agreement.
The Labour Relations Officer, a Special Mediator or a Board of Conciliation may make recommendations to the parties to reach a deal. If there are no recommendations made, or if recommendations made are not agreed to by either or both of the parties, or if the conclusion is the parties are too far apart for any agreement to be made, that information will be reported to the Minister.
Then, after a seven-day “cooling off” period, the union can take job action – but only after giving the employer 48 hours’ notice, and only where there is an essential services agreement in effect.
Negotiating an Essential Services Agreement is a fairly significant undertaking and we want to get it right.
This is why SEIU-West has been gathering information from our members identifying what and where essential service duties would need to be maintained.
We appreciate the input that our members have provided throughout this process.
To keep you informed, we are posting updates related to SEIU-West/SAHO bargaining on seiuwest.ca/cba_saho – if you’d like to receive updates in your inbox, sign up using the form on our home page slider.