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2013 Collective Bargaining: News Alert Issue #9: Contract highlights!

LBED Bargaining Bulletin, Issue 9
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Solid gains made, concessions fought off!

Members mobilized, voted 95 per cent for strike action if necessary, and on the night of May 16 were ready for the picket lines.

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OPSEU leaders and staff were strategic and disciplined to get the story out to the public, train members, and craft the logistics plan to mount a province-wide strike against a Crown-owned retail giant.

A determined group of members and staff negotiators sat across from management negotiators not only as a bargaining team, but as the voice for 7,000 members, backed by a 130,000-member union, and with substantial public support in the fight for good jobs.

And all of that explains why LBED members now have a tentative agreement that includes gains without the lengthy list of substantial concessions the employer demanded. LCBO executives knew that if they persisted with concession demands and if they refused to move on issues that you said mattered most, they risked losing sales and profits in a potential strike.

Money talks, yes it surely does. And mobilization makes people listen.

See inside for news of your tentative agreement and other important information you need before – and after – you cast your vote.

A clear message results in clear improvements

On February 13, LCBO management came to the bargaining table with a long list of concession demands…and not much else. That was a little more than two months ago. They persisted throughout most of bargaining with concessions that would have taken away credits, benefits, wage increases, automatic wage progression, seniority over merit (favouritism), bonuses and even the right to choose your own doctor. Last Thursday night, May 16, management negotiators walked away from the table with the same list of concessions still in their briefcases.

This didn’t happen by accident. Thanks to your strength, determination and the 95 per cent strike vote you delivered to your bargaining team, we were able to stand firm against the destruction of your collective agreement.

Through clear communications, strategy, mobilizing, and solidarity, we changed the dial. The LCBO wanted the story to be about making public sector workers pay for Ontario’s economic problems and deficit. We wanted to tell the REAL story: How the LCBO is raking in $1.6 billion in pure profits every year on the backs of dedicated workers in full-time, part-time, casual and unstable jobs. All our members want is to preserve their collective agreement, improve health and safety and to earn a decent living to take care of ourselves and our families.

That message worked. Through massive advertising, a media campaign and a well-publicized complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal, we moved the issue of part-time, casual, and unstable work higher on the public and political agenda.

With the support of OPSEU staff and Executive Board Members, our amazing mobilizers, local presidents, the skills and guidance of our negotiator Mirla Alvarado and the assistance of well-respected mediator, Gerry Lee, we were able to make the progress we needed to get concessions off the table – and gains on the table.

But mostly, we drew our power and strength from you: the members of LBED. It was your support, in every corner of the province, which allowed us to achieve what we did. You put your trust in me and six of your very dedicated co-workers to negotiate on your behalf, and it was our honour and privilege to do so.

We unanimously recommend that you vote yes to your new contract. Again, we thank you.

Denise Davis,

Chair, LBED Bargaining Team

We set the agenda and now we continue to build

It’s been a few years now since LBED members joined with OPSEU and I’m proud to say that together, we have covered a lot of ground for OPSEU members at LCBO retail stores, warehouses, and head offices.

It has been a challenge to deal with an employer that hides behind messages of public good and deficit reduction to justify unwillingness to bring equality and good jobs to the LCBO. But, because of a mobilized membership, dedicated and focused bargaining team, and a strategic group of staff and leaders, you now have a tentative agreement that includes solid gains, not the outrageous concessions the employer insisted on until the latter days and hours of negotiations.

We went into this round of bargaining against employer claims that LBED members are public sector workers who need to understand that there would be no gains during a time of austerity. The government needed every cent the LCBO could turn over just to pay down the deficit, said management representatives. In fact, they said, employees would have to give back substantial improvements they had fought to build up over the years.

Not so, we said. We said it to the employer in bargaining sessions. We said it to the Wynne government, which controls the LCBO and benefits to the tune of more than $2 billion a year in profits, taxes, and duties. And we said it to the public – in media coverage and radio ads that reached into every corner of our province.

This LBED negotiation was not about whether you work in the public sector or private sector. It was about whether you’re a boss or a worker. Specifically, it was about whether you were a boss for a retail giant which has massive sales and profits or a worker trying to earn a decent living and have a life with some security and predictability. Zoom in even closer on the critical issues and you see an employer making massive profits off the overuse of so-called “casual” workers – and most of them women.

The tentative agreement you will be voting on June 3 and 4 is the product of action on the issues that you said mattered most. Congratulations on your success. Celebrate the solidarity that made it possible. And let’s keep up the work that is central to this union: good jobs and equality for all.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas

President

Overview of your tentative collective agreement

Signing bonus

For all permanent full-time employees actively employed or on LTIP:

Upon ratification: $800   April 1, 2014: $800

For all permanent part-time, seasonal, and casual employees

Upon ratification: $400 if hired before Jan. 1, 2013, and actively employed by the LCBO

April 1, 2014: $400 if hired before Jan. 1, 2014, and actively employed by the LCBO.

General wage increase

Despite management’s efforts to negotiate four years of wage freezes, your bargaining team negotiated these increases:

April 1, 2015 – 1.95 per cent

April 1, 2016 – 1.95 per cent

New permanent full-time jobs in retail

A critical issue during this round of bargaining was the employer’s overuse of ‘casual’ employees and failing to create good, permanent jobs. The employer has agreed to post and fill at least 200 permanent full-time jobs beyond those declared as part of the Permanent Vacancy Review. The additional 200 jobs are allocated as follows:

Post and fill a cumulative total of 50 permanent full-time jobs by January, 2014;

Post and fill a cumulative total of 100 permanent full-time jobs by January, 2015;

Post and fill a cumulative total of 150 permanent full-time jobs by January, 2016;

Post and fill a cumulative total of 200 permanent full-time jobs by January, 2017;

New jobs in Logistics

The employer will hire 20 casual employees in Logistics within 60 days of ratification.

Improved benefits

Dental benefits will be paid at the ODA rate that is current for each year of the agreement. This means that as the ODA upgrades rates, the rates applicable in the contract will also be updated.

Vision care will be reimbursed to a maximum of $300 per insured person in a 24-month period from the date of expense for the purchase of prescribed lenses and frames, and contact lenses. This is up from $275 in the existing contract.

Eye exams are covered for $80, up from $70.

Benefits for casuals

Casual employees now have the choice of opting out of their benefit plan.

Clothing allowance

Seasonal employees will now receive a clothing allowance. The bargaining team negotiated $200 per year. The first one is payable September 1, 2013 and with the first pay of September in each of the years after throughout the life of the collective agreement.

No ties in uniform/attire policy

The employer agreed to discontinue use of ties and cross-over ties. The change takes effect no later than 30 days from ratification.

Improved bereavement leave

LBED members now receive four days of bereavement leave, up from three, on the death of a brother or sister. The leave will not be charged against attendance credits. In addition, there is now one day of bereavement leave upon the death of an aunt or uncle.

Scheduling in double shift stores

The union and management agreed to meet to discuss scheduling issues, which include double shift stores.

Permanent Vacancy Review

Employees offered a position declared under PVR have 24 hours to accept. This allows an employee more time to decide if the offer is in his or her best interest. In addition, if employees decline the offer, they are still eligible for any remaining positions, providing that seniority permits. In the existing contract, an employee who declined an offer was removed from the PVR pool until the following year.

Enhanced severance for casuals

In case of privatization and closure of an establishment – whole or in part – casual employees who are terminated will receive $2,000 for employment transition. This is up from $1,000 in the existing contract.

Protection of status for seasonals

The existing contract protects seasonals against losing their status due to pregnancy leave, parental leave, or provisions under the Ontario Human Rights Code. The bargaining team has negotiated the addition of bereavement leave to the list.

New shift

The bargaining team negotiated an afternoon shift in London as well as in Ottawa, and an additional night shift (midnight to 8 a.m.) for operations clerks in all warehouses. As a result, three new positions will be posted in London and one position in Durham. They will be posted no later than 30 days from ratification. All shifts – day, afternoon, night – include half an hour unpaid lunch.

New day shift

The team has negotiated a new day shift (9:15 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.) in retail stores and depots where 6 p.m. was the normal closing time.

Sundays

Sunday shifts are now posted three weeks in advance.

Minimum shifts

Casuals will now be scheduled for a minimum shift of four hours, up from three. Exclusions in the existing contract still apply.

Improved health and safety

The employer agrees that at least one member of the bargaining unit elected/appointed to each workplace safety committee as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act is a certified member. All those members, including those from the provincial health and safety committee, shall become certified no later than Nov. 30, 2013.Certification will be done through the Workers Health and Safety Centre.

Starting rate for new casual hires

Casual employees hired after ratification will start at rates 3 per cent lower than the current entry step.

Vacation for casuals

Casual employees no longer have to wait six months to take vacation.

Wage discrimination based on gender

The union and management will meet within 90 days of ratification to try to resolve the union’s claim of wage discrimination based on gender. OPSEU filed the legal claim with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) during this round of bargaining. The parties also agreed to ask a neutral third party to mediate. These terms do not prevent the union from proceeding with its claim at the HRTO. If union and management don’t reach agreement, OPSEU will proceed with the complaint.

Job postings

All posted positions shall be filled no later than 60 days from the closing date. This is a significant improvement over the existing contract terms, which put no deadline on filling posted positions.

Composition of the bargaining team

The bargaining team is now made up of five members, not seven. Face-to-face negotiating time is compensated by the employer and will not be deducted from the pool of 900 days for union business.

Job security

The Union will meet with the employer to explore alternatives ways to mitigate the impact of surplus. Employees will be entitled to union representation when being advised of their options under Article 5 of the agreement.

Language improvements

Harassment and intimidation

This is now a stand-alone article in the contract. This is a greater acknowledgement of the importance of the issue and the legal obligation for the employer, union, and employees to provide a safe and healthy workplace and for the duty to accommodate in cases of harassment and intimidation.

Employee Transfer Letters

Improved union rights to know who has been transferred. The employer will provide local presidents with copies of these letters.

Vacation planners

Will be posted in a common, visible area for retail, depot, and warehouse sites.

Allocation of overtime hours in retail stores and depots

All overtime shifts must be identified and posted prior to canvassing a shift.

Union orientation

The union will now have 15 minutes to meet with new hires during the employer’s orientation sessions. The existing contract afforded the union no time with new hires.

Grievance procedure

Language is stronger now to ensure that employees now have the right to union representation at Stage 2 of the grievance procedure.

Seniority

For ‘C’ and ‘D’ stores and assistant manager positions where qualifications and ability are relatively equal, seniority shall be the determining factor.

Mediation/arbitration

The union and management agree to make every effort to use mediation/arbitration to resolve differences.

Concessions the bargaining team and union fought off

The employer arrived at the bargaining table and persisted throughout much of negotiations with a long list of significant concessions. Backed by a mobilized membership and a 95 per cent strike vote, the bargaining team fought the concessions off.

Here’s the employer’s list of takeaways – defeated by the bargaining team. These are now left intact as per your existing contract.

Attendance credits

Attendance bonus

Severance pay

Termination bonus

Automatic wage progressions

Benefits

Overtime for second consecutive day

Saturdays to be regular workdays in Logistics

Discipline language that protects members

Notice regarding casual scheduling

Notice regarding pre-96 casual availability

Shoe allowances

Workers’ choice of physician

Casual Scheduling Posted 31.1 (a)

Notice for A&B store assistant managers

Notice for C&D store managers

31.5 (b) lose seniority after 10 days

PVR new exclusion: working six days for hours

6.2(a)(i) add shifts for days 9.30 10.30 11.30

Charging union for time off when meeting cancelled

Protection from Merit Casual, PFT, etc

1.5 (b) charging union for premiums

Logistics Saturday PFT casual seasonal

Logistics flex time

6.2 (b) (iii) stores and depots flex start time

6.4 (a) (iii) Saturdays off inclusive

Double time: second day work

LBED Regional Mobilizers

Region 1

Dave Holmes
Local 163-Store 393

Lori Cheyne
Local 165-Store 530

Region 2

Shawn Swayze
Local 287-Store 361

Chris Patterson
Local 285-Store 344

Region 3

Richard Woodall
Local 375-Store 130

Eileen Allen
Local 379-Store 468

Tammy Rogers
Local 377-Store 90

Region 4

Devon Ford
Local 499-Store 384

Adam Ly
Local 499-Store 140

Region 5

Adriana Bertoni
Local 5107-Store 279

Craig Hadley
Local 5109-Store 879

Stacey Sholtack
Local 5110-Store 3

Region 6

Kevin Herbert
Local 683-Store 117

Floyd Freamon
Local 602-Store 62

Region 7

Robert Lorkowski
Local 741-Store 501

Robert Mithrush
Local 741-Store 616

Your 2013 bargaining team

Chair: Denise Davis
Email: denise.davis@rogers.com
Local 378 – Durham Warehouse

Vice-Chair : Tracy Vyfschaft
Email: tcshaft@xplorenet.com
Local 377 – Ajax/Pickering/Oshawa/Whitby

Julian Benson
Email : julianbensontoronto@gmail.com
Local 5108 – North York/Thornhill/Unionville/Markham

Nick Foti
Email : foti.nick@sympatico.ca
Local 5109 – Toronto Head Office and Warehouse

Colleen MacLeod
Email : lbedsecretary@rogers.com
Local 5107 – Mississauga/Etobicoke/
Brampton/Toronto

Jeremy Trainor
Email : presidentlocal378@gmail.com
Local 378 – Durham Warehouse

Jenn Van Zetten
Email : ajzetten@mnsi.net
Local 162 – Chatham/Windsor

The team that negotiated your Memorandum of Agreement includes seven LBED members. Negotiator Mirla Alvarado and Researcher Manzur Malik supported the team at the 2013 table.