Off to arbitration
Agreement not good enough…even through rose-coloured glasses
After eight days of bargaining, which included one and a half days of mediation, your HPD bargaining team is now preparing to take unresolved issues to arbitration.
Needless to say, the OHA did not make any meaningful movements during this most recent bargaining session. Despite the assistance of Mediator Gerry Lee, absolutely no proposals were accepted that would in any way cost the OHA money.
Give us that toonie!!
What movements did the OHA make? They proposed that in exchange for the union allowing the hospitals to schedule “short shifts,” they would increase the meal allowance from $4 to $6. While the team was reeling trying to comprehend this staggering amount of money, they also changed their position that “records of incidents that involve violence, harassment, bullying, or abuse remain on your file indefinitely” to only remaining on your file for three years. Your team ruminated on these proposals for (not so) many minutes prior to telling the OHA…no thanks.
The ghost at the table
To be completely fair to the OHA (yes, we’ll do that) they were completely handcuffed at the table with respect to any monetary proposals. Thanks to Dalton McGuinty’s “monetary freeze,” the OHA could not agree to any item put forward by the union if there was a cost attached to it. While the Premier has said publically that his government would not interfere in free collective bargaining, that is exactly what happened in this case. The OHA did not have the ability, the authority or the mandate to agree to any sort of wage or benefit increases in the HPD Central Agreement simply because the government would refuse to fund those increases. As you can well imagine, that made for very short negotiations.
Some items agreed to
There are a few items that were resolved at the table, but most of them either enshrined existing language or were strictly housekeeping items. Among them:
Removal of the old “superior benefits” language.
Principles of Bill 168 language (harassment and bullying) now in the contract.
A minor improvement to bereavement leave.
Clarification on how the hospital calculates part-time hours with respect to early retirement, voluntary exit and separation allowance.
Scheduling of casual hours for skills maintenance now must be negotiated locally with the union
Personal emergency and family medical leave (rights under the Employment Standards Act) are now enshrined in the collective agreement.
Clarification that part-time employees receiving pay in lieu of vacation get the same equivalent time off as full-time employees.
Renewal of current letters of understanding.
Where do we go from here?
Arbitration dates have been set for June 11-12, with employer and union responses to submissions to be completed by June 28. By agreement, the arbitration panel chaired by William Kaplan will issue its decision by mid-September 2011.
Your bargaining team will be working diligently in April and May on which issues we will take forward to arbitration as well as assisting in the preparation of the arbitration briefs.
As we move through the process, we will keep you posted as news becomes available.
HPD rally at Convention
On the Friday of the annual OPSEU Convention, the HPD will hold a rally at the offices of the Ontario Hospital Association. The rally takes place at the noon hour at 200 Front St. (across from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre). We urge everyone to come out to support this round of bargaining and send a loud and clear message to the OHA.
Due to the rally, there will not be an HPD caucus meeting at Convention.
Your HPD 2011 Bargaining Team Members
Sandi Blancher – Chair – Local 106
Sara Labelle – Vice Chair – Local 348
Yves Shank – Local 659
Betty Palmieri – Local 206
Hervé Cavanagh – Local 466
John Francis – Local 346
Bob Sellner – Local 715
Rob Field – Senior Negotiator
Michèle Dawson Haber – Senior Research Officer
Authorized for distribution:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President