The CAAT Support bargaining team has received contract proposals from college management. Here is their analysis of those proposals.
(Please note the French translation will be available soon.)
OPSEU's Analysis of Management’s Bargaining Proposals
Management Concept #1: “Enhance Operational Flexibility in Support of Academic Delivery and Student Satisfaction and Success”
“Recognize the evolving nature of college hours of operations”
Management would like more “flexibility” in scheduling, changing schedules and rotating schedules. Management also wants to remove protection for workers who may face contracting out (Appendix I – Contracting Out Letter).
Our members want to stop any further contracting out of Support Staff work.
“Review the current process for flexible work arrangements”
Currently, if the college wants a more flexible work schedule, such as fewer hours between shifts or compressed work weeks, they need agreement from the effected employee, the local union and OPSEU. Management would like to negotiate these flexible schedules directly with employees, with NO union involvement. This could lead to members being pressured into accepting difficult shift schedules. Individual employees are not in a position of equal power with their supervisors, and so individual negotiations cannot be fair for employees. The union regularly agrees to flexible schedules after ensuring that members understand their rights, and that those rights are protected. OPSEU wants to ensure the union is in a strong position to prevent abuse.
“Review the current hours off between shifts, changes in shifts and commencement of new shifts”
Members who are forced to rotate between shifts (ie. shift workers), currently are protected by a minimum of 15 hours between scheduled shifts. The employee and union can agree with the college to reduce this, but management wants to reduce the minimum hours across the board. There is significant scientific research that links shift work to health issues, including sleeping disorders and chronic illness. In fact, David Suzuki claims that shift work can take, on average, 10 years off a worker’s lifespan. Having more hours between shift changes significantly mitigates these health risks. If the colleges achieve their goal of more “flexible” scheduling of support staff work, shift work may become a reality for more of us.
“Establish opportunities for new college graduates to gain work experience and support college initiatives”
Management wants to hire interns. These opportunities will be for college graduates and they will be paid similar to summer students who earn minimum wage. Jobs will be full-time for one year and interns will pay union dues. The colleges indicated that no bargaining unit member will be laid off and replaced by an intern. The union is concerned about yet another category of lower paid, temporary workers within the colleges. The language is not strong enough as proposed, to protect support staff work from erosion.
Management Concept #2: “Support the Colleges’ Strategic Initiatives by Endorsing Innovation to Optimize Productivity”
“Review information required in OPSEU leave of absence requests”
Management wants more information on letters from OPSEU requesting time off and about what the employee will actually be doing. We have asked questions about how much info this entails.
“Review Initiatives/Opportunities Letter of Understanding”
Management wants to increase the maximum terms of I/O positions to 3 years, not 2 years. Currently, the college must have agreement from the local union to increase the term to 3 years. This may result in fewer I/O positions becoming permanent.
Support Staff want to remove I/O positions from the Collective Agreement.
“Expedite the scheduling of arbitration hearings through local scheduling”
The colleges want to eliminate the Grievance Scheduling Committee. Presently, this joint committee controls the confidentiality of the arbitrator’s names, ensures that arbitration dates are shared equitably between colleges, and prioritizes the most serious cases. Arbitrators are drawn from a list that is agreed to in advance by both parties. Council is proposing a new system where they will control arbitration dates, and colleges and locals will agree to a date and learn the arbitrator’s name after a date is chosen. Alternately, they want the college and union to be able to choose an arbitrator, even if they are not on the list. The capacity to schedule locally already exists within the Collective Agreement. However, the union is concerned that stewards at the local level do not know individual arbitrators as well as their employers do.
Here is a summary of the ‘goals’ and ‘concepts’ college management hopes to achieve in this round of bargaining
The Colleges’ Bargaining Team has established a set of goals for the 2014 round of bargaining:
Enhance operational flexibility in support of academic delivery and student satisfaction and success
Support the Colleges’ strategic initiatives by endorsing innovation to optimize productivity
Negotiate a collective agreement that allows the Colleges to continue to respond effectively to the changing needs of the student population and the community
Demonstrate cooperation and problem solving through open communication with the employees’ bargaining agent
Negotiate a timely settlement that is reasonable to Support Staff and respects the fiscal and budgetary realities facing the Colleges
These goals will guide the Colleges’ bargaining team’s deliberations and decision making during negotiations. The Council Management Concepts for Discussion June 10, 2014 2
1. Enhance operational flexibility to support the student experience:
- Recognize the evolving nature of college hours of operations
- Review the current process for flexible work arrangements
- Review the current hours off between shifts, changes in shifts and commencement of new shifts
- Establish opportunities for new college graduates to gain work experience and support college initiatives
2. Streamline and improve processes to enhance productivity and encourage local discussions:
- Review information required in OPSEU leave of absence requests
- Review Initiatives/Opportunities Letter of Understanding
- Expedite the scheduling of arbitration hearings through local scheduling
- Consider an ‘expedited’ arbitration process for all grievances
- Review the arbitrator’s list
- Review notice period in the event of an Academic work stoppage
- Review length of probationary period
3. Clarify or remove obsolete language in the collective agreement:
- Review various provisions containing Video Display Terminals
- Review Retention of Standard Hours for redundant classifications
- Review Supplementary List of Arbitrators
4. Implement ‘Green Initiatives’ where practicable:
- Reduce the parties’ carbon foot print through technology
- Review language in the collective agreement to recognize this initiative
5. Housekeeping Items:
Review language in Initiatives/Opportunities Letter of Understanding regarding posting of positions to backfill full time employees placed in I/O positions
The Council reserves the right to add to or modify these discussion items during the course of bargaining. Monetary items will be discussed after the parties’ discussions on non-monetary items.