THOROLD, ON, Jan. 25 /CNW/ - The union representing workers at Niagara
Children and Youth Services has filed a complaint with Ontario Labour
Relations Board, charging that the employer is negotiating in bad
The complaint to the OLRB was tabled last week, only days before the
NCYS is scheduled to host a pricey media launch that will announce it
has changed its name to Pathstone Mental Health.
"Management has somehow come up with the money to go through a
re-branding process but they plead poverty when it comes to negotiating
a fair contract with their own employees," said Pati Habermann,
negotiator for Local 214 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union
which represents 108 workers at NCYS.
"Worse still, they are trying to circumvent the normal bargaining
process by communicating directly with our members which is an effort
to bargain in bad faith and outside of what's allowable under the
Ontario Labour Relations Act."
Local 214's contract with NCYS expired 10 months ago, on March 31, 2010.
Several bargaining sessions since then have failed to produce any
meaningful progress toward a new contract.
In its complaint to the OLRB, Local 214 charges that the employer has
communicated directly with union members to gain their agreement to
work at walk-in clinics that the employer was planning to open, as well
as its plan to merge with another agency. Both steps are clearly
outside what is provided for under the current collective agreement,
said Leisa Burberry, chair of the union's bargaining team.
In a Dec. 24 memo to employees, management also advised that it was
operating an $8,000 deficit as a result of its plan to re-brand itself
as Pathstone Mental Health and, in part, because of its contract
negotiations with Local 214.
"All of this has caused unnecessary stress for our members, who are
justifiably concerned about their job security. They see this as
another attempt by the employer to undermine the collective bargaining
process," said Burberry.
Both sides are next scheduled to meet in bargaining on Jan. 27.
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
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