March 17, 2017 at 3:00 PM
It’s been almost 18 months since the collective agreement between Unifor and Ornge expired.
The bargaining surveys the membership completed in the summer of 2015 gave the Unifor bargaining committee a clear understanding of the issues the members wanted brought to the negotiating table. The committee met with the employer numerous times in these long, drawn-out negotiations, with slow progress. But the challenges that remained are those that are most important to the membership: wage increases, rest periods (Article 26) and scheduling.
On November 15, 2016, the union and the company agreed to move the bargaining process forward to an Interest Arbitration
based forum, where Arbitrator Tom Hodges would review all documents and arguments on outstanding issues. Both parties would have an opportunity to reply to the written submissions, after which Arbitrator Hodges provides a final and binding written decision.
By involving an arbitrator, the process becomes expedited; however, to present effective arguments, Arbitrator Hodges gave both parties an extended period to prepare their written submissions.
The bargaining committee has been working diligently to prepare the written submissions and oral presentations for a hearing scheduled for March 27, concentrating on strong arguments for a fair and equitable deal. A deal our members want and deserve.
After March 27 was agreed upon, the employer then requested an extension, which was granted by Arbitrator Hodges. Earlier this week, the parties agreed to meet June 29 for oral arguments.
The committee is dedicated to making gains for the membership and will continue to keep you informed.
We do understand this has been a long process and we thank you for your continued support, patience and confidence.
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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
Cheryl Robinson, Local 2002 President
Kelly-Anne Orr, Unifor National Staff Representative