Membership Message

Last week I sent out a Membership Message on the latest updates we had in regards to the hearing dates and the reasoning behind the dates being postponed to January.

With the news of the postponement, questions and concerns have been sent to the Executive of Locals 4848 and 1252. Many of these questions have been asked in the form of e-mails, text messages, phone calls, and even in video messages.

I have taken the last few days to review and compile the questions. I have forwarded your questions to the appropriate level and department within CUPE.

I would ask that members please be patient as I try to get factual information that can be released.

One question that was asked and I can answer now as it was addressed in a prior release when this all started in January.

  • Why is our own union challenging the wishes of the members:
    • Excerpt from January 24th, 2020 Membership Message:
      • 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.

To also provide a better understanding of the postponement:

  • The Government agreed to the recent request for an adjournment.
  • Local 1252 asked for the production of relevant documents back in January. Government did not provide “full disclosure” in a timely manner. The delay of the government is why additional days were needed and ultimately an adjournment of this hearing into January.
  • It was only last week that the requested documents were reviewed by the vice-chair of the Labour Board and deemed to be relevant and now being un-redacted by order of the vice-chair of the Labour Board. The question as to why the government was unwilling to release relevant documents when originally asked has yet to be communicated.
  • Local 1252 has never argued that Paramedics are not Professionals.

Since I have taken the position as President of Local 4848, I have tried to make sure your questions are at least asked and have provided you with all updates that have been communicated to me.

In the meantime, this executive and I remain focused on dealing with the everyday issues from members and be an advocate towards management on your behalf through Labour Management meetings, Inner Executive meetings and e-mails with your provincial OM’s and RM’s.

If you have any further questions, please reach out to your station shop steward, regional president or myself and we’ll try our best to respond to your questions or concerns in a timely manner.

 

Respectfully

 

Andrew McLean
President, Local 4848