Newsletter

2014 CAAT-S Bargaining Bulletin, Issue 7

Publication Date

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 4:45pm

The finish line is almost in sight!

As most CAAT Support members will know by now your bargaining team reached a tentative contract agreement on Aug. 14 with the College Employer Council, after 13 bargaining sessions and 17 days before our existing contract was scheduled to expire. We achieved this without taking a strike vote or threats to walk off the job.

A ratification vote will be taken on Thursday, Sept. 18. Your local executive will advise you of the time and place where the vote will be held at your college.

As with almost all contract settlements neither side got everything they sought. But I am proud to say we negotiated a deal that provides for modest wage increases over four years and we did not cave in to the concessions management wanted. In this era of “zeroes and claw backs” and austerity in the public sector, I think, on balance, we did pretty well for ourselves.

In this issue of your Bargaining Bulletin we describe some of the highlights contained in the tentative deal. Your Number One demand, as set out in our demand-setting process last winter, was “No Concessions!” and we delivered on that.

You, the members, will have the final say on whether or not you believe we negotiated the best possible contract under present day circumstances. We are recommending you vote ‘Yes’ to the deal.

In the meantime, members of the bargaining team will fan out across the province in the next couple of weeks to attend general membership meetings where we can explain details of the deal to all members. I strongly encourage everyone to attend these information sessions at your college. In the days ahead you will learn the date and location of these information sessions.

As chair of your bargaining team I wish to express, on behalf of the entire team, a big ‘Thanks’ to all CAAT Support members for their solid support throughout this round of negotiations. Knowing that we had the full support of more than 8,000 college support workers across the province gave us the strength at the bargaining table to deliver a deal that works in your best interest. Your strength of spirit was with the team on each occasion that we sat down at the bargaining table.

In Solidarity

Florry Foster

Highlights of the tentative agreement (pending ratification)

Length of contract

Our new four-year deal will take effect retroactively to Sept. 1, 2014. It will expire on Aug. 31, 2018.

Wages

First year: 1% increase retroactive to Sept. 1, 2014

Second year: 1% increase effective Sept. 1, 2015

Third year: 0.5% increase effective Sept. 1, 2016 + 1 % lump sum payment in Dec. 2016

Fourth year: 0.5% increase effective Sept. 1 2017 + 1% lump sum payment in Dec. 2017

The 1% lump sum payments in 2016 and 2017 are classified as pensionable earnings

Special allowance

Special allowances were first negotiated in the 2008 round of bargaining.

$425 for every member of the bargaining unit with more than 6 months, but less than 10 years’, experience. Payable in September of each year in the contract.

$825 for every member of the bargaining unit with more than 10 years’ experience. Payable in September of each year in the contract.

Bereavement

Members will be granted one day bereavement to attend the funeral of an aunt or uncle. Effective the date of ratification.

Life insurance

Members will now be able to purchase additional units of life insurance, up to $100,000.

Concessions

There were no concessions adopted in this round of negotiations. All Letters of Understanding, job security provisions and existing benefits remain intact from the previous agreement. We did not give up the contracting-out provisions contained in the existing agreement.

Retirees

Currently, retirees pay for their benefits three months at a time. They will now be able to maintain their benefits through a monthly bank withdrawal. This is a gain for more elderly retirees who receive lower monthly pensions. Existing retirees who want to continue paying by quarterly cheque will be “grandfathered” so they need not change their banking preference.

Shift agreements

The employer sought to weaken the union’s input over hours between shifts and flexible hours. We disagreed. One small change: Flexible shift agreements no longer require the authorization of an OPSEU staff rep, provided the college, employee and local union agree.

Union time off

Both sides agreed to a standard form for union time off for province-wide centrally-elected union committees. Also, we agreed to remove the list of alternate arbitrators. There is, currently, only one alternate and that person is not taking on new cases.

Job security

The employer agreed to provide each local with electronic copies of the part-time list so that we are able to track part-time jobs more efficiently.

Interns

The Colleges pushed hard to introduce interns. This would have meant recent graduates would be employed full-time, for one year, at a minimum wage. They would not have been able to replace a member, but the employer wanted the flexibility to have interns replace retirees or other workers. We pushed back very hard on this issue and, in the end, management took it off the table. We fully anticipate this issue will return in the next round of bargaining.

Initiative opportunity positions (I/O)

The current IO letter of record remains in place. We gained a slight improvement. We have clarified the terms and conditions around the hiring of IOs. Under the new, tentative agreement IOs are temporary workers who enjoy all the rights of the collective agreement, except for job security. We were unsuccessful in adopting job security language.

Housekeeping items

In every round of bargaining both sides review and revise what are known as ‘housekeeping items.’ This document runs to more than 100 pages. The changes do not affect rights, but they update references to articles or legislation that has been changed since the previous agreement was signed. Much of this work was agreed upon prior to the start of bargaining by the Employee-Employer Relations Committee (EERC).

Ratification vote

A ratification vote will be taken on Thursday, Sept. 18. Your local executive will advise you of the time and place where the vote will be held at your college.

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