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Bloodlines: CBS Support workers make gains in tentative agreement

Bloodlines Bargaining Bulletin
Issue 3, August 31, 2017
For OPSEU Support members working at Canadian Blood Services

Ratification vote set for September 10 to 15

On August 17, the bargaining team representing OPSEU members working at CBS Support Services reached a tentative agreement with the employer. In a news release that day, Jennifer Johnson, chair of the bargaining team, called it “a fantastic deal that’s going to improve the working lives of our part-time and full-time members.”

“This tentative agreement marks a very significant moment in the history of bargaining between OPSEU and CBS,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “It includes important improvements in a number of areas and sets the stage for fair treatment for our CBS members for many contracts to come.

“I congratulate the bargaining team and the membership for all the hard work that made this deal a reality.”

The tentative agreement will be put to a vote by members from September 10 to September 15 (see below for vote schedule). In the meantime, your elected bargaining team would like to thank everyone in the CBS Support group who demonstrated their strong and ongoing support for our efforts throughout the entire bargaining process. It wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always fun, but it was a memorable and worthwhile experience for all of us who were at the table.

Read all about the tentative agreement below!

In solidarity,

Members of the CBS Support bargaining team

Highlights of the tentative deal

The new tentative agreement contains a number of significant improvements for OPSEU members, listed below, and no takeaways.


Under the tentative agreement, wages for Support employees will rise by 7.5 per cent by October 1, 2020. All rates and ranges for the wage schedules in Schedule A will change to reflect the following increases:

  • April 1, 2017 – 1.0 per cent
  • October 1, 2017 – 0.5 per cent
  • April 1, 2018 – 1.0 per cent
  • October 1, 2018 – 1.0 per cent
  • April 1, 2019 – 1.0 per cent
  • October 1, 2019 – 1.0 per cent
  • April 1, 2020 – 1.0 per cent
  • October 1, 2020 – 1.0 per cent


The tentative agreement runs four years from March 31, 2017 to March 31, 2021.

Improvements to scheduling

Meal periods:

Any additional meal period that must be provided under legislation shall be 30 minutes in duration and taken during clinic hours. Such meal periods will be scheduled at a time determined by the employer after taking into account operational requirements and employee needs.

Employees who are scheduled to work seven and a half hours in a day shall receive two paid rest periods of 15 minutes each.

Break scheduling:

Staff at mobile clinics will now be scheduled for breaks throughout the clinic unless operational requirements make it impossible to do so. What this change really means is that unless absolutely necessary, breaks will no longer be scheduled at the start and end of the shift as has been the practice until now. This was a big issue for members, and a big win for us.

Holiday scheduling:

Three holidays have been added to the list of days that an employee shall not normally be required to work two years in a row: Victoria Day, Canada Day and Labour Day.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on scheduling and changes to Article #12.04

The goal of this MoU is to create a better work/life balance and to make hours available for those members who would like to work additional hours. All regular part-time members will be provided with an option on whether they would like to work more than their assigned full-time equivalent (FTE). Our members never had this option before; we were simply scheduled with equitable distribution and people would just give away their shifts because some only wanted to work their guaranteed FTE.

The idea behind providing an option to only working a defined FTE was that there would be more hours in the pool for those who wanted additional work.

The MOU also provides an opportunity to indicate whether you would be interested in increasing or decreasing your FTE (between 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5). After your choices are submitted, the employer will then re-adjust the FTEs by seniority if any changes can be made.

Extra hours:

The issue of temporary employees and the scheduling of extra hours has been addressed. It is now clear that extra hours go to regular part-time staff first.

Leaving early:

All scheduled hours will be paid as per the posted schedule, unless an employee volunteers to leave early. Members will no longer be deducted pay for clinics that end early.

Vacation bank cash-out:

Part-time employees are now eligible to have their vacation banks cashed out twice per calendar year. This will ensure that they can anticipate receiving a paycheque while on vacation and do not have to wait for payment in January.

New positions (Ottawa):

the employer will create five new 0.5 FTE positions in Ottawa and has agreed to create a focus group to investigate why clinics are consistently operating past their scheduled end times.

Letters of Understanding (LoUs)

Scheduling committee:

The scheduling committee remains intact to serve as a forum to improve scheduling issues.

Provincial Labour-Management Committee:

The PLMC will now be part of the collective agreement. The PLMC will also be able to review current classifications that have had significant changes to their job descriptions and job functions.

Full-time positions

Post and fill (Letter of Understanding):

When a regular full-time bargaining unit position becomes vacant due to resignation or retirement, the employer shall post and fill a regular full-time position.

PLMC meetings:

The PLMC will now meet twice a year to discuss ways to create more full-time positions and eliminate any obstacles in creating full-time jobs.

1,800-hour report:

The 1,800-hour report will be shared with all local presidents annually. Local presidents will undergo a thorough review of the hours report provided with the members on the report to see if additional full-time positions can be created.

Other improvements

Float Days for part-timers.

Part-time employees will now be entitled to one paid annual “Float Day.”

Pay in lieu for part-timers (benefits):

There will be an increase in pay in lieu of benefits for part-timers, from 7.5 per cent to 8.5 per cent.

Pay in lieu for part-timers (holidays):

There will be an increase in lieu payment for designated paid holidays for part-time employees, from 4.88 per cent to five per cent.

Harassment and discrimination:

The tentative collective agreement includes a harassment and discrimination complaint process.


The cap of the number of stewards the employer will recognize will be removed.


New language on mediation will allow the parties to utilize a mediator to assist in resolving grievances, should both parties agree. With some grievances taking up to two years to be heard by an arbitrator, this allows for another avenue to resolve grievances in a more timely manner.

Union leave:

We have achieved an improvement in union leave language. There will also be an increase, from four hours per month to 7.5 hours, in time-off allowances for local presidents.  

Resolving contract disputes through interest arbitration

CBS employees provide services that are important and vital to the general public and because of this your bargaining team and CBS have agreed that a strike or lockout is not an effective way to solve disputes at the bargaining table. If the current tentative agreement is ratified, all matters that the parties cannot agree on in future rounds of bargaining will be settled by voluntary interest arbitration. This means your case will be heard by a three-person Board of Arbitration. Arbitration board members rely on objective criteria to arrive at a decision. The main criterion they use is that of comparability or industry standards. 

This is a good thing, especially for workers who are lagging behind similarly classified workers elsewhere. Time and again, OPSEU has faced intransigent employers at the bargaining table who are simply unwilling to pay what is standard in the industry. At arbitration, saying “No” isn’t good enough. Employers need to show some reasonable justification as to why they should get away with paying less than other employers who employ similar types of workers. OPSEU has a great deal of success at interest arbitration for this very reason – Employers have a lot of trouble coming up with justifications for their monetary positions that are reasonable enough to satisfy an arbitration board.

Once the submissions have been made, the Board of Arbitration will issue an award between one and three months after the hearing date. The Board’s decision is immediately binding on the parties and does not require ratification. 

Letter of Understanding Future plasma sites

The tentative contract recognizes that if funding is granted for future plasma-collection sites, the work carried out in these new facilities will be the work of OPSEU members.

This is a significant gain in the agreement as it provides enhanced job security for all members and will most likely result in an increase of total available hours for part time employees. This also puts us in a position through the PLMC to argue for increased full-time employment.

Letter of Agreement – Joint Job Evaluation – Driver 

The driver job has fundamentally changed over the years and therefore the parties have agreed to re-evaluate the driver job through the job evaluation process.

This provides an avenue for a special wage adjustment.

Within 30 days of ratification of the collective agreement, a Joint Job Evaluation Committee shall be established consisting of no more than four representatives for each party, including three drivers (one driver representative from each of Brampton, London and Ottawa).

The committee shall evaluate the driver job using the parties’ previously agreed-upon Gender Neutral Classification System. The committee shall discuss and agree upon what effect, if any, the evaluation of the driver job has upon the driver rates of pay. If the committee cannot so agree, determination of rates of pay for the driver classification shall be referred to a board of arbitration. It is understood that driver rates of pay shall not be reduced as a result of this Letter of Agreement.

2017 ratification vote schedule

All CBS Support members are encouraged to get out and vote on this tentative agreement!

Sunday, September 10

Local 5103: OPSEU Toronto Regional Office, 31 Wellesley St. E., Toronto, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Local 210: OPSEU Hamilton Regional Office, 505 York Blvd., 2nd Floor, Hamilton, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Monday, September 11

Local 200: CBS Brampton, 100 Parkshore Dr., Brampton, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tuesday, September 12

Local 160: CBS London, 820 Wharncliffe Rd. S., London, 8 a.m. – 12 noon
Local 160: CBS Windsor, 3909 Grand Marais Rd. E., Windsor, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Wednesday, September 13

Local 5103: CBS Barrie, 231 Bayview Dr., Suite 100, Barrie, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Local 5103: OPSEU Peterborough Regional Office, 1840 Lansdowne Street W., Unit 12, Peterborough, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Thursday September 14

Local 477: OPSEU Kingston Regional Office, 824 John Counter Blvd., Kingston, 12 noon to 4 p.m.

Friday, September 15

Local 477: CBS Ottawa Concourse, 40 Concourse Gate, Ottawa, 8 a.m. – 12 noon
Local 477: CBS Ottawa, Perm Site, 1575 Carling Ave., Ottawa, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Read the Memorandum of Settlement

For a full copy of the entire Memorandum of Settlement negotiated between OPSEU and Canadian Blood Services, please click here.

CBS Support: Who are we?

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union represents more than 850 support members at Canadian Blood Services including phlebotomists, donor care assistants, donor services representatives, drivers, laboratory assistants and clerks. OPSEU represents CBS support members in London, Brampton, Hamilton, Ottawa and Toronto.

Connect with OPSEU

The Member Portal gives you secure online access to services and member information 24/7, including:

  • updating your contact information
  • downloading your collective agreement and bylaws (if available)
  • earning more about your local executive committee
  • submitting expense claims electronically 48 hours after an event

Visit the Member Portal to see how easy it is to get online services and information! 

Your 2017 CBS Support bargaining team

Jennifer Johnson, Chair

Gloria Blanchard

Amanda Monette

Alberto Alvaro

Geoffrey Cain

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