Community social services employers want more from workers’ pockets

Bargaining bulletin

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The Union Bargaining Association (UBA)will be tabling our monetary proposals early next week. We’ve been trying to this point to get employers to discuss our priority nonmonetary issues. These include the improvements our members are seeking to job security, workload and basic working conditions.

However, the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA), has refused to engage in serious discussion of these demands. They tabled their money offer on Wed., March 1. Their proposal is tied to ratifying a four year agreement by March 31.

  • The employers’ 1.5% wage increase offer over four years will not meet total cost-of-living increases. Your wages will fall further behind. Employers want you to continue to subsidize their services.
  • Regressive wage grid to stay in place.
  • Elimination of all superior benefits.
  • No benefit improvements.
  • No pension.
  • No increase to mileage expenses.
  • No wage increase for non-provincially funded positions such as Early Childhood Educators.
  • Employers want to eliminate the memorandum they previously signed - that commits the first available money in this round of bargaining to restoring sick leave to 100% pay from 80%. Another broken agreement!

Employers are offering a $2.3 million one-time contribution to RRSPs to be distributed among regular full-time employees (FTEs). This works out to about $300 for a full-time worker.

  • But we would be paying for this ourselves in exchange for the elimination of superior benefits.

Employers are dangling a $3,700 per FTE onetime signing bonus, funded by the government, if the agreement is ratified by March 31. The bonus, which is subject to usual deducations, would apply to employees on maternity/parental leave, and be pro-rated for part-timers.

  • CSSEA’s proposal discriminates against casuals and people on disability leave by excluding them from receiving a signing bonus.
  • Employers want the right to terminate an employee on Long Term Disability leave (LTD), further discrimination against people with disabilities. And these are agencies that are supposed to serve the disabled.
  • Employers say their offer is tied to making a four year agreement, meaning we would be stuck without improved contract language for four more years.

UBA spokersperson Chris Mullen says, “The employers need to get real. They must show respect for our members and for the collective agreement process. Our members want fair wages, safe workplaces, improved benefits,improved work-life balance and job security. We can’t afford to settle for anything less.”