Local 79’s collective agreements with the City of Toronto expire on December 31, 2019. Let’s take a step-by-step look at the process it takes to renegotiate our contracts, also called the ‘collective bargaining process’.
Want to know what stage of the collective bargaining process we’re on? Look for the red arrow below.
- Pre-bargaining Committee gets to work
- Appointments to the Bargaining Committee
- Emergency Measures Committee is formed ←
- Ratification of Bargaining Proposals
- Negotiations begin
- Strike vote
- Conciliation with the Ontario Ministry of Labour
- No Board Report
- Ratification of settlement
1. Pre-bargaining Committee gets to work
In the months before our collective agreements expire, Local 79’s Executive appoints a Pre-Bargaining Committee. This Committee creates and executes a time-line of tasks needed before bargaining officially begins.
One of the Committee’s most important tasks is to send out a bargaining survey to members, analyze the results, and compile members’ priorities. They also create materials to help members get engaged in the bargaining process, like the collective bargaining educational quizzes we’ve been emailing out and informational pieces like this one.
2. Appointments to the Bargaining Committee
Local 79’s Executive Board assigns members to the Bargaining Committees that will lead negotiations with the City of Toronto on behalf of our four bargaining units: Full-Time, Unit B Part-Time, Recreation Workers Part-Time, and Long-Term Care Homes & Services Part-Time.
Members of the Bargaining Committees are usually made of of members from the Executive Committee, Unit Officers from their respective units, a National CUPE Representative and other members from the bargaining unit. Representatives from CUPE National also assist.
3. Emergency Measures Committee is formed
The Emergency Measures Committee (EMC) operates separately from the Bargaining Committee. Its aim is to support negotiations by communicating updates from the Bargaining Committee and preparing the Local for a strike action, if it becomes necessary, or if the employer locks members out.
4. Ratification of Bargaining Proposals
The Bargaining Committee drafts bargaining proposals that will be presented to the City of Toronto. This is when they study the bargaining survey responses and use that feedback as one of their many inputs in creating the proposals.
These bargaining proposals must be accepted, or ratified, by Local 79 members. A ratification vote for each of the four units is called where members are told by the Bargaining Committee about what will be in the proposals. Information on what will be proposed in negotiations is only available at these meetings.
5. Negotiations begin
No earlier than 90 days before the end of our collective agreements, but before Dec. 31, 2019, we will either have sent out a notice to bargain or received one from the City of Toronto. After this notice, we set out times to meet and exchange our proposals. At any point during negotiations, an agreement can be reached.
6. Strike Vote
Local 79’s Bargaining Committee may call for a strike vote at some point during negotiations.A successful vote does not immediately start a strike, which is an action only ever used as a last resort. A successful strike vote authorizes the Bargaining Committee to call a strike if the City of Toronto does not make fair proposals. A strong strike vote shows solidarity and sends a message that we are united and willing to take action should the City of Toronto not move on its proposals.
7. Conciliation with the Ontario Ministry of Labour
If the parties are too far apart and aren’t able to reach an agreement, a conciliation officer (someone trained to help guide negotiations) is requested from the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
8. No Board Report filed
If an agreement is still not possible with the help of a conciliation officer, either the union or the employer can request a ‘No Board Report’ from the Ministry of Labour. Once requested, the Ministry will issue a ‘No Board Report’ within 5 days, which triggers a 17 working day period before a lockout or strike is possible.
Once a ‘No Board Report’ has been called, the Ontario Ministry of Labour appoints a mediator to guide negotiations. This can be the same person who filled the role of conciliation officer, but the mediator now takes a more active role in trying to find areas of agreement and compromise.
As soon as the ‘No Board Report’ period ends, a lockout or strike is possible. A lockout occurs when an employer locks out its employees and refuses to allow them to work as a punitive measure for refusing to accept a poor deal. A strike is an action union members take to withhold their labour in order to compel their employers to negotiate a fair deal.
In the event of a lockout/strike, Local 79’s Emergency Measures Committee will communicate to members to let them know what to do.
The lockout/strike will end only when an agreement is reached through continued negotiations or back-to-work legislation is introduced by the Province.
12. Ratification of settlement
If a settlement can be reached through negotiations, both the employer and union need to ratify (get official consent for) the agreement. Local 79 will hold a ratification vote for its members, while the City of Toronto will need to have City Council vote on the agreement. We will notify members in advance of the location and time of the ratification votes.If members reject the proposed settlement, the parties will head back to the bargaining table to continue negotiating. If a settlement is reached during a lockout/strike and members do not support the terms in the settlement, the lockout/strike will continue.