A strong majority of Legal Aid Ontario Lawyers voted in favour of ratifying their local’s first collective agreement late last year.
In an email to LAO members the Bargaining Team said of the agreement:
“Make no mistake, this (agreement) was a hard-fought accomplishment. Guided by your responses to the surveys we sent out, we pushed our employer to enshrine the entitlements that we currently enjoy and, more significantly, for considerable improvements in the areas that concerned you the most. We bargained to help secure quality service to our clients and to ensure safe work environments. We fought for the respect that we deserve from our employer, and for a voice at the table going forward on issues that impact the work that we are passionate about. With your support, we have laid the foundation upon which all future rounds of collective bargaining will be built. That base is broad, and it is strong. It is a solid start in setting a new course for the relationship between us and our employer.”
To help members make an informed decision on the proposed collective agreement, the Interim Local Committee (ILC) held more than 20 member meetings from Cornwall to Windsor and Toronto to Sudbury, as well as two telephone town halls to provide opportunities for members in northern and remote areas to participate.
At their meetings, the Interim Local Committee emphasized the importance of members voting to demonstrate to the employer that Society members are committed to being active participants in setting their terms of work. Members took that message to heart as 78% of represented lawyers turned out to vote.
In the coming weeks, the Society will hold the first elections for LAO Local leadership positions. All Society members who are in good standing will be eligible to seek and vote for candidates contesting the offices of Local Vice President and Unit Director. More information about the elections will be provided to members in advance of the nomination period.