There have been several questions regarding the reclassification process and complaints filed to the Labour & Employment Board. To better understand why this was done and what it means, we are providing the following quick summary:
There were two (2) complaints and one (1) application filed with the Labour & Employment Board:
- • Complaint 1 – Statutory Freeze violation
- A statutory freeze is a period during which the employer cannot change the terms and conditions of employment. The purpose of the statutory freeze is to provide stability during the collective bargaining process. We are currently in bargaining for a new contract the way the reclassification was done is not “business as usual” and constitutes an alteration of the terms or conditions of employment without the Union’s consent.
- • Complaint 2 – Interference with the administration of a union or the representation of employees by the union
- An employer cannot prevent or interfere with the process of representation of employees by a union. For example, an employer cannot promise certain employees benefits if they reject a union and cannot otherwise negotiate with individual employees. The Government negotiated a reclassification and change to terms or conditions of employment without the Union’s involvement or consent. That would be considered an unfair labour practice.
- • Application for the Labour & Employment Board to determine the proper classification
- The Union was not provided with documentation or proof that the reclassification was done in a proper manner. The normal process was not followed. The Union was not consulted or invited to provide feedback. The Government decided to unilaterally reclassify three (3) of the five (5) classifications employed by ANB represented by CUPE. This will split the classifications in two bargaining units. Our understanding is that the decision was based purely on political will, which would be improper and a violation of the law. Therefore, the Union requested that the Labour & Employment Board, an independent tribunal, decide on this issue.
Some comments were also made with respect to the other transfers and the statutory freeze period. In the case of the ECG techs, while discussions happened during bargaining and a market adjustment was negotiated, they were ultimately moved after the contract was signed, and the Union was involved in that process. With respect to the tissue bank specialists, there was a lot of talk back and forth between the Union and the Employer over a period of years (before and during the statutory freeze period) and a statutory freeze complaint would not be filed in such circumstances. We can’t stress enough that these are totally different circumstances from what we are dealing with today. In the case of paramedics, the bargaining agent was left out completely from all discussions and from the process of reclassification. Further, there was clear political interference.
We were not advised or informed that talks had begun between NBU, ANB and the Treasury Board. We reached out to the Treasury Board and NBU on Friday, January 24, 2020, to confirm this was happening. The Treasury Board did respond on Monday, January 27 and confirmed that talks had begun with NBU regarding the transfer agreement, without CUPE’s involvement.
This is outrageous as CUPE has been involved in transfers before and invited to talks between the Employer and the receiving union (NBU).
Also, as discussed during the Special Meeting on January 24th, the Executive of Local 4848 reached out to the Reclassification Committee and Joel Mattatall to have an informal discussion. They refused to meet with Local 4848.
We will keep the membership updated on the situation as it evolves. Our goal is to best represent our members no matter the situation.