'They are trying to circumvent the normal bargaining process by communicating directly with our members.'
Toronto (27 Jan. 2011) - Workers at Niagara Children and Youth Services (NCYS) have filed a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB), charging that the employer is negotiating in bad faith.The complaint was tabled 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 (PMH).“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,” says Pati Habermann, a negotiator for 108 workers in Local 214 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).“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 (OLRA).”Local 214’s contract with NCYS expired on March 31, 2010. Several bargaining sessions in the 10 months since then have failed to produce any meaningful progress toward a new contract.Local 214 alleges that the employer has communicated directly with union members to gain their agreement to work at walk-in clinics that it had been planning to open as well as its consent to merge with another agency. Both these steps fall outside what is provided for under the current collective agreement, says Leisa Burberry, chair of the union’s bargaining team.“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 on Jan. 27.NUPGEThe National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE