As you are aware, this past Saturday the members of OPSSU rejected a four year tentative settlement with OPSEU by 68%, therefore giving the Bargaining Team a strike mandate. OPSSU advised the employer immediately of the results of the vote, and formally wrote to them on Monday requesting dates to meet. OPSSU has been notified by OPSEU today that they have filed for conciliation. We will wait for a Conciliator to be appointed and determine the next bargaining dates.
What is conciliation?
At any point during negotiations, the Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA) allows a union or an employer to request third-party assistance. That request for assistance is called conciliation.
Once the request is received, a conciliator is appointed by the Ministry of Labour to conduct the conciliation, usually within a matter of a few weeks. Once appointed the conciliator will arrange for the parties to meet. The parties must meet at least once with the conciliator. The conciliator will confer with both parties and try to help them reach an agreement, but the conciliator has no authority to impose a settlement on the parties.
Since our members have rejected a deal, the parties are still in negotiations.
What happens if conciliation fails?
If conciliation fails to produce a positive result, both sides can continue to bargain without the presence of a conciliator, or either side can ask the conciliator to file a “no board” report stating that they may be at an impasse. A strike or lockout is legally possible the 17th day following the issuance of the “no board” report. Nothing prevents the two sides from trying to reach a deal after a “no board” report has been filed.
A “no board” gets the clock ticking to a strike or lock-out deadline.
What does the OLRA say about “no board” reports?
The OLRA states that the existing terms and conditions of collective agreements remain the same until the Minister of Labour issues a “no board” report. This is in essence, a “freeze period”. After the “no board” report is issued, the terms and conditions of collective agreements are frozen for a sixteen-day period. Bargaining may continue during that time. On the seventeenth day following the “no board” report, any or all of the following could legally occur:
- the union could call for strike action;
- the employer could lock-out its employees;
- the employer could make unilateral changes to the collective agreement;
- the union and the employer could continue to bargain;
It’s legal to strike or lock-out beginning on the seventeenth day after the minister mails the “no board” notice.
Your Bargaining Team is committed to the process and wants to negotiate a fair deal for our members. Once the parties have confirmed meeting dates we will give you an update. Your unit contacts and strike coordinators will be communicating shortly on what the next mobilizing steps will be.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out to your bargaining team at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to use your personal email when contacting the team. We will only be responding to questions via email.
Your OPSSU Bargaining Team
Mirla G. Alvarado (Chair), Cameron Walker, Adam Berisha, Cathy Guppy, Kim Macpherson, Cheryl Wing