NORTH BAY, ON, Oct. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - On two separate occasions over the last three months, Ontario Northland has brought collective bargaining with Unifor Local 103 to an abrupt halt.
"In late July, the company declared that negotiations were at a "legal impasse" and unilaterally applied to the Federal Minister of Labour for the appointment of a Conciliation officer. This legal declaration by ONTC was disappointing and resulted in the cancellation of full week of scheduled meetings while we waited for the Minister's appointment," said Andy Mitchell, Unifor Local 103 President.
On Friday October 2, midway through the third day of negotiations this week, ONTC expressed to the Unifor bargaining committee and the Federal Mediation officer who joined the talks, their satisfaction with the progress made and advised that they would require some time in order to prepare their response to the union's extensive presentation.
"Given the strong sentiments expressed by the ONTC Friday afternoon on the progress being made, the union had every expectation to be returning to the bargaining table beginning Monday for continuing talks. However Friday evening, the ONTC bargaining team lead by Ontario Premier Wynne's hired consultant, called to inform the union that in their view, the bargaining process has come to an end. Effective Tuesday October 6th, they stated they would be unilaterally stripping away provisions of the current agreement and imposing new ones on their employees," added Mitchell.
Additionally, the ONTC/Wynne Government advised that they would be making an application to the Minister of Labour under a rarely utilized provision of the Canada Labour Code, to force a vote on the company's concession filled offer. The Code allows the Minister the discretion to order such a vote if she is of the opinion that it is in the public interest to do so.
"We have yet to see the company's pleadings in their application to the Minister of Labour nor have we been given any indications of when the ONTC may make that application. This is yet another unfortunate hurdle in the bargaining process initiated by the ONTC/Wynne Government. Given the progress made this past week it is disappointing that the ONTC is again refusing to return to the bargaining table with the intent of reaching a negotiated deal," concluded Mitchell.
SOURCE Unifor Local 103
For further information: Andy Mitchell is available at 705.493.3817; National Rail Director Brian Stevens is available at 416.567.8281