Dear Members of MAHCP,
I would like to let all of you know that we have scheduled two more days of bargaining on Thursday and Friday of this week for our central table agreements. As you are aware, we have submitted a deadline of January 31 for significant change to have occurred. The outcome of these next days will determine what decisions will need to be made by the bargaining committee. We will keep members informed as we progress.
The information pickets so far have been a tremendous success. We have seen an excellent turnout from our members and staff as well as an incredible show of solidarity from other unions such as CUPE, MGEU, Amalgamated Transit Union, and MNU. I want to express my deep thanks and respect for every member who took their own time (many were on days off or vacation!) to join these lines and show the public just how important this is to each and every one of us. Keep up the great work for the rest of this week! The bargaining committee is very encouraged by the high turnout.
Additionally, I have been receiving a large number of enquiries from members looking for specific information in terms of “what we are asking for.” I am very happy that there is such an interest at this point, but we are unable to share what exactly is on the table at any given moment because things can change so rapidly. This is especially true at this late stage of the bargaining process. If and when we come to an agreement that the bargaining committee feels may be acceptable to members, we will at that point be able to fully share what we have been able to manage at the table. It is my hope that our members can understand that this is not a lack of transparency, but a strategic decision by the committee to not tip our hand too early. This is a negotiation so if we were to say we are after x% increase in wages for example, what bargaining leverage is left at that point?
I will say again that we continue to seek a reasonable wage increase and adjustments that will at least begin to address the fact that many of our professional groups remain at or near the bottom of their respective national wage scales. This is precisely what we are working on right now at the bargaining table.
I also have heard from many of our Labour Relations Officers and Executive Council Directors that members want to know exactly what an essential service agreement looks like in their facility or area. Once again, that information will be shared when it is most appropriate. In other words, when it comes time to vote on any settlement, specific information will be made available to help members weigh the pros and cons of their individual decisions. One thing I can certainly tell you is that the Essential Services Act does not allow the employer to arbitrarily deem 100% or more as essential as we have seen in the past. These numbers have been negotiated over a very long period of time and the reductions in most facilities/ departments/ areas are more significant than members have seen before.
I hope this explanation is helpful in providing some insight as to why we are holding some of the information you are looking for until such time as it does not interfere with our ability to bargain a fair collective agreement on your behalf.
Bob Moroz, President, MAHCP