Ornge: Bargaining Update for October 29, 2020

Ornge: Bargaining Update for October 29, 2020

October 29, 2020 at 3:20 PM
The Bargaining Committee would like to provide the membership of Ornge with an update on the current negotiations with the Company, which have been ongoing for the past four months. It has been two and a half months since the current collective agreement at Ornge expired. Despite the many challenges our members are facing in light of the Covid 19 pandemic, the fact is bargaining remains a top priority for all of us. The Bargaining Committee has been working hard to ensure the needs and the priorities of the membership remain front and center.  

The Union and the Company met on June 15th, 2020, via video conferencing to formally open negotiations. Since that time both parties have met virtually over seventeen occasions.  Meeting virtually has not been the most effective way to negotiate a new collective agreement.

From the onset, the Company has refused to meet in person with the Union at a venue that featured social distancing and health policy measures in place. Talks continue to progress, although at a slower pace than the Bargaining Committee had hoped.

The Bargaining Committee has agreed and signed off on several non-monetary issues that we have dealing with since June 15, 2020. There remains a handful of important non-monetary issues that the Company is unwilling to budge on. These important issues are matters that the members have identified in the bargaining surveys back in March and have discussed at the base proposal meetings. We have provided the Company with various suggestions on how to resolve these issues, unfortunately, we find the Company is struggling to think outside of the box and not interested in reaching an agreement.

During the week of October 13 to 15, 2020, and after months into the bargaining process, we find ourselves arguing over issues that pertain to representation and equality for all members. It’s clear that the Company’s mandate is to divide the membership by demonstrating preferential treatment to some employees over the other employees. This tactic of “divide and concur” will not be tolerated by Unifor, and we have been clear from the start – we want a fair deal for our members and we will not violate the collective rights of our membership. 

On the last day of bargaining – October 15, frustrations at the negotiating table resulted in a turning point for the Committee where we told the Company that “enough is enough”, and that discussions had reached an impasse.

Essential Services Agreement (ESA)
On October 23, the Bargaining Committee met via conference call to discuss the direction on how we needed to proceed with the bargaining process. A decision was taken to initiate and negotiate an Essential Service Agreement with Ornge.  A letter was sent to the Company on October 28, requesting that both parties meet on the agreed dates of December 1st to 4, 2020, to negotiate the Essential Service Agreement.  As per the Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act, the Union and the Employer has an obligation to enter into an Essential Service Agreement.

The following members were elected to the following positions:
  • District Chairperson - Mark Etherington -Elected
  • Bargaining Committee Members - Geoff Brown, Southern Bases – Elected, and Keith Simons, Northern Bases - Elected
Our objective is to be as open and transparent with members as possible, without undermining the integrity of the bargaining process.

Unifor Local 2002 will continue to keep the membership apprised of any further developments. Please stay tuned for further updates and subscribe to enews at www.unifor2002.org

In solidarity,

Your Ornge Bargaining Committee
Mark Etherington, Chairperson
Keith Simons, Northern Bases
Geoffrey Brown, Southern Bases
Ashley Watkins, Assistant to the Local President
Kelly-Anne Orr, National Staff Representative