Three of the Society’s largest locals are in the process of renewing their collective agreements. The OPG Local is awaiting an arbitrator’s decision that will set the terms of their next agreement, the Bruce Power Local is at the bargaining table, and the IESO Local has completed nine days of negotiations before talks were suspended by the employer.
In a November 16 update to members, IESO Local Vice President Chris Graham informed members on behalf of the negotiating team:
The Society had been seeking salary increases and improved benefits for regular and temporary staff and no changes to our pension. The IESO had been seeking broad cuts to our benefits and increased pension contributions. The IESO provided no specific offer related to an annual salary increase. Due to the wide difference in our relative positions, earlier this morning negotiations broke down. This afternoon, following the break-down of negotiations, IESO Management advised us that the Ministry of Energy and Treasury Board ordered them to suspend collective bargaining until at least December 11, 2018. For more context, please see: https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/fallstatement/2018/chapter-1a.html#s-6
While the Society remains receptive to engaging in good faith bargaining, as a practical matter the combination of the differences between the Society and IESO Management, in conjunction with the Ministerial order, means that we will likely be headed to arbitration, which is scheduled before John Stout on January 31, 2019.
Meanwhile, the Bruce Power Local held a membership meeting on October 26 to provide specific updates to their members about what may lie ahead in the bargaining process. The Bruce Power local has bargained with Bruce Power through the month of November and also has bargaining dates into December. The collective agreement expires on December 31, 2018.
Local Vice President Mike Gade relayed to members that Bruce Power Society members pride themselves on powering Bruce Power's successes in the areas of Operations Excellence, Outage Excellence and Project Excellence. The hard work of those members makes Bruce Power a profitable and successful business and that translates into the members demands for fairness and respect in the collective bargaining process.
Bruce Power Local members are encouraged to stay in contact with their Communication Action Network (CAN) representative for regular updates on bargaining. Unlike the OPG and IESO Locals that have access to mediation and arbitration, the Bruce Power Local negotiates under the strike-lockout framework.
As OPG Local members await the arbitrator’s decision on their collective agreement, Local Vice President Joe Fierro notes that through bargaining and then in arbitration he and the rest of the OPG Local bargaining team did their best to fight off a long list of management’s proposed take-aways. Among OPG’s demands were higher pension contributions, pension entitlement concessions, reduced severance entitlements for the Voluntary Separation Plan and surplus workers, increased contracting out, health and dental concessions, and many other items.