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Important information regarding the Sector 16-MPAC Feb. 29 strike vote

We the North
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Help us change the Employer’s offer!

We get one vote, one chance. Your bargaining team is asking for a strong strike mandate to force your employer to table a better offer. On February 29th give your bargaining team the power at the table to fight for you. Vote YES to support your team.

Below are answers to questions you may have.

Q: How can I vote and where?

  • All locals will hold a strike vote meeting on February 29, 2016.
  • Locations and times can be found here.

Q: Why are we holding a strike vote?

  • To put pressure on the employer to bargain a fair contract.
  • To provide leverage at the bargaining table.
  • A strike mandate does not necessarily mean we will go on strike. It is a tool to motivate productive bargaining.
  • To put a strike mandate in place prior our next bargaining dates on March 15-16.
  • To permit necessary work action to be taken if bargaining fails.
  • To have the employer desist from “The Plan Without a Plan” — also known as Accreditation — or to have them ensure our members will be protected and not demoted.
  • To improve our working conditions (including health benefits and wages).

Q: Can I vote by proxy?

  • All votes must be cast in person. As per OPSEU policy there shall be no proxy votes. All votes must be done by secret ballot.
  • An OPSEU staff person will be assigned to each polling station. Only staff are authorized to handle ballots and count the vote.

Q: Can I vote if I am off?

  • All members in good standing are entitled to vote.
  • A member in good standing on an approved leave of absence is entitled to vote (no proxy voting).
  • Those in acting manager positions that are OPSEU members are eligible to vote.

Q: Are the parties resuming bargaining talks?

  • Yes, the parties have agreed to meet again on March 15-16.

Q: What are the main issues in bargaining?

  • Wages. The current wage offer of 1.5 per cent in total over a three-year term is not acceptable.
  • The employer continues with their “Plan Without a Plan.” – Accreditation. The employer has proposed that all Property Valuation Specialists and Mass Appraisal Analysts hold an accreditation by January 1, 2019.
  • Failure to achieve Accreditation will result in a non-disciplinary demotion. The employer wants to force accreditation upon our members that have worked successfully in their positions for many years. This is not acceptable. We have and will continue to demand protection for our members.
  • Effective January 1, 2016 our membership will no longer be allowed to study or complete assignments during work hours.
  • The employer is seeking changes with respect to Letter of Understanding (LOU) #1 and #2 of the collective agreement. The employer has made it clear that Accreditation and these two items are their priority. They are seeking the elimination of LOU#1 severance for those who were divested. This affects approximately 350 people. They also want changes to LOU#2 which means those who retired will pay 50 per cent of post-retirement benefits premiums. 

Q: What is conciliation?

  • Conciliation is a process by which a trade union or an employer can ask the Ontario Ministry of Labour for help in resolving their differences so that they can reach a collective agreement. Either party may apply to the ministry. If the parties are in negotiations, they must use the government's conciliation services before they can get into a position to engage in a strike or lock-out.
  • The role of the conciliator is that of a neutral third party working with the union and the employer to reach a deal and avert a strike/lockout. “Conciliation” is a legal requirement in the lead-up to a strike/lockout.
  • As long as the parties are making progress, the conciliator will work with both sides to achieve a deal. If the conciliator cannot bring the parties to a deal, the Ministry of Labour may issue what is called a “no board” report. A strike or lockout may legally begin 17 days after the “no board” report is issued.
  • Either the employer or the union can file for conciliation.

Q: What is a strike?

  • A strike is a collective action by employees to stop or curtail work. Section 1 (1) of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 defines a strike as a cessation of work, a refusal to work or to continue to work by employees in combination or in concert or in accordance with a common understanding, or a slow-down or other concerted activity on the part of employees designed to restrict or limit output.
  • Your bargaining team will only call a strike if it is absolutely necessary.

Q: What is a lock-out?

  • A lock-out occurs when an employer closes a workplace, suspends work or refuses to continue employing a number of employees during a labour dispute.
  • Section 1 (1) of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 defines a lock-out as the closing of a place of employment, a suspension of work or a refusal by an employer to continue to employ a number of employees, with a view to compel or induce the employees, or to aid another employer to compel or induce that employer's employees, to refrain from exercising any rights or privileges under this Act or to agree to provisions or changes in provisions respecting terms or conditions of employment or the rights, privileges or duties of the employer, an employers' organization, the trade union, or the employees.

Visit the MPAC 2016 Bargaining Index page for more information