July 7, 2017 at 3:44 PM
The members at Ornge are looking for closure on almost two years of a long and difficult bargaining process. And they’re about to get it. Arbitrator Tom Hodges will finally put an end to the uncertainty when he releases his award, which will be final and binding on both parties.
Ornge District 344 has been without a collective agreement since the previous one expired on November 1, 2015. The on-again off-again bargaining over the last two years has been full of contentiousness as the union demanded respect for the unique job function, and the employer continued to show a lack of integrity and respect for safety.
It was only after the union and the company agreed to involve Arbitrator Hodges to help with the process that negotiations moved forward. But early this year, bargaining stalled again when both the union and the employer held firm to their position, and the only way forward was for Arbitrator Hodges to hear both sides present their arguments as part of an Interest Arbitration.
The bargaining committee, the Unifor National Research Department and our legal counsel prepared the documents and arguments that Arbitrator Hodges required before making his decision. Both sides presented their written documents June 16 and gave their final oral arguments on June 29.
Now it’s up to Arbitrator Hodges to determine the outstanding items that could not be settled at the bargaining table. We will let you know as soon as we receive Arbitrator Hodges’ binding award.
The committee would like to thank every member for their continued patience and support as we worked to negotiate the fair deal that you told us you wanted two years ago.
Your Unifor District 344 Bargaining Committee:
Chuck Telky, Chairperson
Mike Chad, Southern Base Bargaining Representative
Dan Lefebvre, Northern Base Bargaining Representative
Ashley Watkins, Assistant to the Local President
Euila Leonard, Local 2002 President
Kelly-Anne Orr, Unifor National Representative