Hospital Professionals

Hospital Professionals At The Table, Issue 3, March 19, 2014


Bargaining news for members of OPSEU’s Hospital Professional Division: Issue 3

Off to arbitration

After 10 days of bargaining, which included one and a half days of mediation, your HPD bargaining team is now preparing to take unresolved priority issues to arbitration.

There were still many items on the table as we progressed toward our weekend of mediation. Your Team’s goals were to get stronger language around job security issues, and improvements to early retiree benefits, bereavement leave, vacation, shift premium, wages and reclassifications.

The Hospitals were vigorously pursuing concessions on hours of work, specifically short shifts, sick leave, LTD, vacation accrual and the percent-in-lieu of benefits payment to part-timers. On wages, the Hospitals were not willing to consider any reasonable position and made zero moves toward acknowledging the sacrifices OPSEU members made in the last round. In fact, they even proposed a two tier wage system that would have seen a three per cent reduction to the start of the wage grid, affecting future hires.

Our agreed to issues include:

  • Clarified that all references in Article 17.03 speak to call-back. Call-back and call-in were used interchangeably before, causing confusion to the intent of the article.

  • Added a new article ensuring that members not governed by an Ontario college under the Regulated Health Professions Act are able to utilize the “Workload Alert” form in the collective agreement.

  • Redesign of Article 11, Layoff and Recall, so that the language flows in a more logical and chronological order, but without changes to content.

  • Notification as soon as possible of a short term layoff.

  • Agreement that the subject of backfilling absences is an appropriate topic for discussion at the local level.

  • Renewal of some letters of understanding.

‘Value’ merely lip service

At the beginning of bargaining, the Hospitals made a point of telling your bargaining team how much they valued the work we do and the valuable services we provide. Not surprisingly, their kind words were just that…words. At no time did that translate into any kind of substantial offer for your contract. So despite the platitudes, we remain severely undervalued for the crucial services we provide.

Where do we go from here?

Your bargaining team will be working diligently in April and May to determine which issues we will take forward to arbitration as well as advising staff in the preparation of the arbitration brief. At this time we have no firm dates for arbitration.

It is important that you know that the Hospitals’ last position was that they will only consider monetary improvements if we accept cost-savings concessions elsewhere. In effect, we are expected to pay for our own raises and improvements!

As we move through the process, we will keep you posted as news becomes available.

Your HPD 2014 Bargaining Team Members

Sandi Blancher, Chair, Local 106
Betty Palmieri, Vice-Chair, Local 206
Sara Labelle, Local 348
Yves Shank, Local 659
John Francis, Local 346
Brendan Kilcline, Local 444
Vince Gobind, Local 311
Rob Field, Senior Negotiator
Michèle Dawson Haber, Senior Research Officer

Authorized for distribution:

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President