Court Reporters Update
The employer’s refusal to comply with a 2006 ruling by the Grievance Settlement Board that the production of transcripts is bargaining unit work is starting to catch up with the Ministry of the Attorney General.
In the latest development announced earlier this week, OPSEU achieved an important victory in its decade-long quest to secure full-time jobs with a professional wage, benefits and a pension for court reporters.
On Oct. 23, GSB Vice-Chair Randi Abramsky ruled that pension contributions should have been made covering the production of transcripts. Abramsky ordered the employer to pay its share of missed pension contributions plus all interest.
This is significant because while OPSEU members would be responsible for paying for their share, the interest levied by OPSEU Pension Trust on both the member and employer’s shares would be the employer’s responsibility. This decision could help provide more pension income for court reporters.
The union has entered into discussions with OPTrust with respect to the implications of the decision and its implementation. Once we have clear direction from OPTrust, we will pass along further information.
Abramsky ruled on two other issues in her decision.
She said OPSEU is owed union dues for all transcript production work and the employer is solely responsible for paying this money plus interest. This will likely cover the period of 2003 to the present and could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Abramsky also ruled on expenses incurred in the production of transcripts, e.g. computers, printers etc. She agreed the expenses have to be factored into whatever amount is owed court reporters for the years they were improperly treated as independent contractors. She said the calculation should be for the whole period, not year-over-year.
The total expenses incurred for the production of transcripts will be set against the gross earnings for this work. We will have to review the figures for each member in order to determine if anything is owed to them.
The employer’s tactic for the past seven years has been to drag out compliance for as long as it can. OPSEU is continuing to use all legal avenues available to us to force the employer to comply with the GSB rulings on court reporters.
In the meantime, we ask court reporters to start the work of going through your records and compiling the following information for the period 2003 to the present:
- Gross income earned from the production of transcripts;
- Total expenses incurred; and
- Total pages produced.
We will continue to provide updates as we have them.