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Toronto Hydro Locals fight for fair collective agreements

April 16, 2020

The Society’s Toronto Hydro Locals have been fighting for fair collective agreements while locked in difficult negotiations with management for several months. The longstanding Engineers Local is seeking to renew its collective agreement while the newly formed IT Local works on its first contract.

The Toronto Hydro Engineers Local is facing demands from management for extraordinary concessions, including increased work hours without pay, eliminating post-retirement benefits, and slashing parental and family medical leave benefits. At the start of bargaining, a top priority of members was addressing work-life balance with new provisions around alternative work hours. Management refuses to discuss this priority.

In February, the parties entered into mediation. Mediation did not lead to progress. Normally, the Society would file for conciliation and start the strike-lockout clock. However, in light of COVID-19, the Society has proposed that the outstanding issues be addressed through binding mediation/arbitration. Management so far refuses to do so.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Hydro IT Local has moved to mediation-arbitration on its collective agreement, as bargaining units are legally entitled to do when negotiations for a first contract fail. Management agreed to share a first draft of the proposed agreement by February 21 but has not produced a draft to date. While dragging their heels on the first agreement, management also indicated that it is withholding performance payouts, apparently due to the impasse in negotiations. The Society’s position is that withholding these payouts is a clear violation of the Ontario Labour Relations Act and is consulting legal counsel on how to ensure members receive the performance compensation they earned.

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