Canadian Hearing Society very disappointed, CUPE rejects CHS' latest robust offer

TORONTO, April 1, 2017 /CNW/ - After four days of mediated bargaining sessions between the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) and CUPE 2073, CHS is disappointed that CUPE has rejected its most recent improved offer and has elected to remain on strike.

"We are very disappointed that CUPE has not taken CHS' latest offer seriously – an offer which would end the strike and provide our employees with retroactive wage improvements, increased pension contributions, a new employer-paid short-term disability program and a significant buyout of accumulated sick leave banks," said Gary Malkowski, Vice-President at CHS and Executive Labour Relations Team member. "Over the past few days, we thought both sides were making progress that would lead to an agreement. CHS was hopeful the parties would reach a deal that was in the best interest of all our employees and would get them back to work."

The Canadian Hearing Society's proposal represents a robust, equitable deal that is appropriate and sustainable, particularly for the not-for-profit sector.

Key items in CHS' offer include:

    • Two retroactive wage increases as well as a lump sum payment. These wage improvements are in addition to step increases through the wage grid of over 3.0%, which the majority of unionized employees have received in over the last four years;

    • The extension of the current contract for a further year from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, incorporating yet another wage increase;
    • An increase in employer-matched pension contribution, effective April 1, 2017;

    • Modernization of the paid sick leave program that provides income support and assists employees in their return to work. Key elements include:

      • a robust one-time buyout of employees' unused sick day banks that matches CUPE's latest proposal, and
      • 100% employer-paid short-term disability program that provides income protection for all CHS sick or injured employees when they need it most, unlike a sick bank that can run out.

    • Continuation of our competitive employee group benefits, including health, dental, life insurance and long-term disability coverage at their current levels;

    • Each employee will receive 36-46 fully paid days off work made up of six paid sick days per year, three personal leave days, a floater day, three to five weeks of annual paid vacation and 11 statutory holidays.

"We came fully prepared to reach an agreement," said Malkowski. "It is truly unfortunate for all of the people that we serve that CUPE has rejected our offer and not addressed all aspects of our proposal. We came to the table expecting CUPE to bargain all proposal elements.  Yet, four days later we are still waiting."

CHS' goal is to find a solution that serves the interests of its employees, the organization, and the Deaf and hard of hearing clients it serves for the long term. CHS' values its employees and would like to see them back at work.  In the meantime, CHS will continue to support its clients' essential and daily living needs.

CHS remains ready and willing to meet again when CUPE signals that they are prepared to have meaningful, constructive dialogue towards achieving a financially sound and sustainable collective agreement.   

About the Canadian Hearing Society
Trusted since 1940, the Canadian Hearing Society has been providing industry-leading services, programs and products to Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians to ensure barrier-free access and increased quality of life. It is an independent, registered non-profit organization that reinvests proceeds from product and program sales back into community services, the focus of our business. For more information on our services we invite you to visit www.chs.ca.

SOURCE The Canadian Hearing Society

For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: Kara-Ann Miel, Director, Marketing & Communications, Canadian Hearing Society, Voice or Text: 416-577-7993, Email: kmiel@chs.ca


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