ServiceOntario is implementing a new Customer Service Representative (CSR) classification. There are over 1,500 OPSEU members employed by Service Ontario. Approximately 1,000 are being transferred into the new CSR class series. There will be no loss in OPSEU jobs and no one is having their wages reduced. Those who are being matched to the new CSR positions will get a slight increase in their job rate. However, over one hundred members will have their wages red-circled, or frozen, until wage increases overtake their current wage. Members who work in Land Registry Offices (LRO) and in Office of the Registrar General (ORG) will not be affected.
Since 1997, when the Harris Government passed legislation preventing government employees from grieving job classifications, our ability to challenge job classifications has been restricted. OPSEU has filed a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms over this restriction from bargaining our classifications.
In November 2009, ServiceOntario management approached the OPSEU Central Table (CERC) stating they were creating a new job classification series, and asked if OPSEU wished to provide input. As with most similar OPS consultations, one of the employer’s pre-conditions was that OPSEU not announce the discussions.
The OPSEU representatives decided it would be in the best interest of our members to enter discussions with the employer in an attempt to mitigate any damage and positively influence the outcome. Unfortunately, OPSEU was only able to provide input – we did not have any negotiating ability on the creation of the new job classification or how the jobs are being mapped from the old class series to the new class series. OPSEU representatives believe our participation did have a positive impact on the outcome, but not to the extent we sought.
OPSEU raised some serious concerns about the proposed piecemeal rollout to Deputy Minister Bob Stark on February 10, as stated below.
“The MGS MERC Team has serious concerns about the employer’s proposed announcement of the new CSR classifications. Your Q&As provide information on red-circling which will leave all staff wondering who is affected. The approach of providing partial information to staff will cause undue stress and anxiety which won’t be alleviated for 2 1/2 to 3 months before staff will know their fate. In addition, both sides of our MERC Team would be inundated by a huge number of staff seeking out answers that at this time our side can’t provide, because of the “two wave” process. From our perspective we would be left with no other alternative but to direct all queries to the management…because we have not received any direction on what information can be released at this time. We have already witnessed an increase in calls/concerns when local Management informed staff that their job specs were being reviewed. The proposed rollout of the new CSR classification clearly has the potential of being a logistical nightmare. It will also create chaos and speculation in the rest of Service Ontario if staff are not also provided with a communication update about their status with regards to their jobs and their jobs specs. Our Team is strongly recommending that the Employer hold off on making the announcement until they are ready to roll out the whole package.”
For the MGS MERC Team, OPSEU
A large number of you have voiced your disapproval of this rollout, and the union understands and respects how this troubling news will affect yourself and your family. OPSEU will continue to vigilantly advocate on your behalf, and over the next couple of weeks your representatives will convey your concerns to the employer and keep you appraised on the next steps.
Please feel free to contact your OPSEU representatives in your workplace, who in turn will forward all queries to your MERC team.