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OPS Table Talk 2015 Issue 17 – Essential Services: What it takes to get an agreement

OPSEU Table Talk - The latest bargaining and mobilizing news for OPS members
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A message from your Corrections Team

Corrections is still awaiting the employer’s response to our position of “All Out” regarding Essential and Emergency Services tabled  on May 14. Updates will be provided as they become available.

A message from your Central / Unified Team

Essential Services: What it takes to get an agreement

The Essential and Emergency Service Agreement (EESA) process is complex. To assist our members we are sharing some of the key items that will help you understand what it will take to reach an agreement. 

The Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act (CECBA) sets out the criteria that determines what work is considered essential.  The Act states:

Definitions

30.  In this Part,

“essential services” means services that are necessary to enable the employer to prevent,

(a) danger to life, health or safety,
(b) the destruction or serious deterioration of machinery, equipment or premises,
(c) serious environmental damage, or
(d) disruption of the administration of the courts or of legislative drafting;

“essential services agreement” means an agreement between the employer and trade union that applies during a strike or lock-out and that has,

(a) an essential services part that provides for the use, during a strike or lock-out, of employees in the bargaining unit to provide essential services, and
(b) an emergency services part that provides for the use, during a strike or lock-out, of employees in the bargaining unit, in addition to those referred to in clause (a), in emergencies.

Essential services agreements required

31.  (1)  An employer of Crown employees and a trade union representing Crown employees who have or are negotiating a collective agreement shall make an essential services agreement.

Duty to bargain

(2)  The employer and the trade union shall bargain in good faith and make every reasonable effort to make an essential services agreement.

Essential services part

32.  (1)  The essential services part of an essential services agreement must include provisions that,

(a) identify the essential services;
(b) set out how many employees in the bargaining unit from what employee positions are necessary to enable the employer to provide the essential services; and
(c) identify the employees who the employer and trade union have agreed will be required during a strike or lock-out to work to the extent necessary to enable the employer to provide the essential services.

What does this mean?

The Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act requires OPSEU and the employer to negotiate agreements to provide essential and emergency services in the event of a strike or lockout. We have no choice in this matter. It’s the law.

Section 30 of CECBA defines essential and emergency services that are necessary to enable the employer to prevent:

a)         danger to life, health or safety;
b)         destruction or serious deterioration of machinery, equipment or premises;
c)         serious environmental damage; or
d)         disruption of the administration of the courts or legislative drafting.

That’s the criteria used in negotiating an essential and emergency service.

CECBA also specifies that the EESAs must identify:

  • the essential and emergency services;
    • the number of employees required to perform the essential and emergency services;
  • the employees, usually by position and / or classification, who will be required to work during a strike or lockout  to the extent necessary to enable the employer to provide essential  and emergency services.

Your EESA will also identify:

  • the Ministry and location;
    • the number of employees who normally provide that service – “normal complement” (NC);
  • the essential and emergency job functions; and
     
  • the triggers that set an emergency service in place.

The next Table Talk will deal with the process of negotiating the essential services agreements.

Download Table Talk

Related: OPS Bargaining 2014 Index Page