Questions and Answers about the new ServiceOntario Customer Service Representative (CSR) Classification
Many members have voiced concerns about the new CSR Classification and OPSEU’s role in the process. Here are the answers to many of your questions.
How many members are affected by this change?
Approximately 1,000 of the 1,500 jobs at ServiceOntario are being transferred to the new classification. Members who work in Land Registry Offices (LRO) and in Office of the Registrar General (ORG) are not affected.
Is the pay affected for those whose classification changes?
Those who are being matched to the new CSR positions will get a slight increase in their job rate. However, over one hundred members will have their wages red-circled, or frozen, until wage increases overtake their current wage.
Is OPSEU grieving this?
Under the law, OPSEU cannot grieve classification issues, nor can we force the employer to bargain classification issues. OPSEU has filed a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms over this restriction.
How did OPSEU get involved in this process?
Back in November, OPSEU was asked by ServiceOntario management if we wished to provide input into their creation of this new classification. To be clear, the employer did NOT have to do this. OPSEU representatives decided to become involved with the goal of trying to minimize the negative impact this classification change would have on our members.
What did OPSEU accomplish?
While we did not have any legal standing to negotiate with the employer, OPSEU did manage to gain some protection for our members. Potentially, some members who were going to drop in classification would receive a pay cut from $5.00-$7.00 an hour. OPSEU managed to convince the employer to hold all affected members at their current rate of pay until wage increases catch up with their current rate.
OPSEU tried to negotiate a larger wage increase for the CSRs, but the employer didn’t agree. OPSEU also tried to get input into the mapping of the new jobs, but we were unsuccessful.
Can we legally challenge the employer on this classification change?
As stated earlier, OPSEU is prevented by law from challenging classification issues in the OPS. In November 2009 OPSEU launched a charter challenge on Sections 51 and 52 of the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act (CECBA), the provisions that legally bar us from arbitrating classification complaints. OPSEU’s argument is that our ability to bargain collectively has been interfered with and therefore violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Because a Charter Challenge is a long process, it could be late this year or early 2011 before we can get our case in front of a judge, and that will only be the beginning of the hearings.
What happens now?
Besides having filed the Charter challenge, OPSEU continues to lobby the government to change the law on classification complaints. Until that occurs, we do not have any legal avenues to challenge the employer on classification issues.
We will keep you posted if new information becomes available. If you have questions, please contact your OPSEU representatives in your workplace, who in turn will forward your issues to your MERC team.