On Feb. 27 your bargaining team gained traction at the bargaining table after a rough start to negotiations. This was a vast improvement from our last meeting.
With the support of our AUPE Membership Services Officer (MSO) Berend Wilting, we addressed issues that were long overdue for discussion. These include:
Out-of-scope Emcon supervisors are interpreting the collective agreement differently, which is bound to lead to unnecessary conflict in the future.
We’re already dealing with the fallout. Many out-of-scope supervisors do not seem to understand your right to union representation and are spreading misinformation that threatens to erode this protection.
Our MSO has heard supervisors are telling members anyone can represent us when we’re being investigated for misconduct. Not only is this untrue and a breach of your rights, but it will likely lead to cases being struck down by arbitrators, creating unnecessary delays in investigations.
Solutions: Our MSO is bringing his expertise to the table to help us resolve this problem.
- BARGAINING UNIT WORK
We had a full and productive discussion about out-of-scope foremen doing our bargaining unit work.
Solutions: There are limited situations when it’s appropriate for foremen to do our work, so we are refining the definition of “emergency conditions” to reflect this.
- SEASONAL EMPLOYEES AND CASUAL EMPLOYEES
Right now, the employer is treating casual employees like seasonal employees but not granting them the associated rights and benefits.
Solutions: We are working towards ensuring casual staff are not short-changed for the challenging work they do, and we’re emphasizing to the employer that casual positions should only be used to back-fill regular and seasonal employees (or brought in after regular and seasonal employees have been offered all available work), not to drive down the working conditions of the workforce.
We are also working to ensure that when seasonal employees are recalled from seasonal layoff, the employer respects seniority rights.
- HEALTH AND SAFETY
We initiated a number of discussions around health and safety issues that you identified in the bargaining surveys.
These are at the top of our priority list. Worker health and safety is the responsibility of all employers, and we’re going to ensure Emcon doesn’t take this lightly. You do risky and challenging work, but this is no excuse for working conditions that put our health, safety and lives on the line.
We will continue to prioritize resolving these issues, so we can achieve the working conditions you all deserve.
On top of these discussions we signed off a number of non-monetary articles, including:
- Union Recognition, Security and Rights
- Dues Check-off
- Labour Management Relations
- Discipline and Discharge
- Technological Change
- Classification Specifications
- Apprenticeship Programs
- Training and Service Career Policy
Our most noteworthy amendments are language changes that will hold the employer accountable for better labour relations moving forward. We modernized article 7, which now states both AUPE and the employer are expected to exercise our respective rights in “good faith and in a fair and reasonable manner.”
Under the union representation article, we secured the right for members to meet with union representatives in advance of investigations to get copies of all relevant documents, not only to prevent unnecessary delays, but also to ensure staff get fair representation.
We also strengthened our discipline and discharge language, which now features a clear definition of “culpable misconduct” that will help protect staff from being disciplined for errors or misconduct out of their control.
Bargaining will continue on March 4, 5 and 6, when we expect to sign off on more non-monetary articles. Moving forward, we will continue to draw on all AUPE staff supports and the priceless knowledge you bring from the frontlines.
EMCON BARGAINING TEAM MEMBERS:
Brad Guhle | firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-678-4044
Bernie Quinn | email@example.com or 780-207-0597
Greg Jackson | firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-206-7000
Robert Bancroft | email@example.com or 403-820-1776