Milestone reached in benchmark negotiations

Community social services members to receive package to begin process

After months of negotiations, the four unions in the community social services sector and the Community Social Services Employers’ Association have agreed on crucial areas of the Community Social Services Joint Evaluation Project Preliminary Matching Process.

Arbitrator Stephen Kelleher assisted the four unions — HEU, CUPE, HSA and BCGEU — and CSSEA in the process that has resulted in the parties concurring on benchmarks with qualifications, a maintenance agreement and classification manual, ratings rationales, benchmark order and disputed matches.

The parties will now proceed to the next critical step in this important process. Members will receive packages through their site representatives in the next two weeks that will include:

  • a joint cover letter from the unions and CSSEA;
  • a complete set of benchmarks;
  • benchmark order;
  • the joint job evaluation plan;
  • a list of matches specific to their own agency and
  • the benchmark match reconsideration form to use in case of appeal.
“This is definitely a milestone in these negotiations that have been so long in the making,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “The parties have worked hard — using the input of front-line members to match each job as accurately as they could.”

Part of the agreement establishes an appeal process where members who feel their job has been somehow overlooked or disagree with the match can use the benchmark match reconsideration form mentioned above. The four-union joint evaluation committee will evaluate the appeal and present it to CSSEA. Kelleher will adjudicate any disagreement between the employer and union committee by January 30, 2003. The process to match a few unique jobs that do not correspond to any benchmark is as follows:

  • The unions will rate unique jobs individually using the job evaluation plan by November 30, 2002. They will place those jobs into the hierarchy and send them to the incumbents by December 1, 2002.
  • Incumbents in unique jobs can then appeal their placement by filling a unique job reconsideration form by January 16, 2003.
“Although there are several issues on which the parties remain far apart, including pay rates, the structure is now in place on which to base further negotiations,” says Allnutt.