Tuesday, August 23, 2005

JOHN KERNAHAN'S REPLY LETTER

July 6, 2005


Bill Rudd, President
OPSEULocal217
c/o Niagara Parks' Maintenance Centre
7856 Portage Road
Niagara Falls, ON L2G 5Y8


Dear Bill:
I am in receipt of a letter from Fred Hopkins expressing the union's concern over what you believe to be the "...systematic loss of our jobs to contracting out, rental of our facilities to private operators and improper exclusions." You have suggested a meeting in order that the union may elaborate on these issues and I certainly welcome that opportunity to better understand your concerns.

On the issue of exclusions, I understand that this matter has been pursued through a policy grievance at the Grievance Settlement Board (GSB) and that the Commission has recently been approached by OPSEU Toronto to schedule the case. Despite that, it is our desire to continue conversations with respect to this issue and we have begun the process of holding meetings with the union and each department to review particular areas of concern. To the credit of both parties, we have never had to go to the GSB to resolve exclusion matters since the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act was passed into law over 30 years ago. We have always been able to work out these matters internally through open dialogue. The process we have had in place, I believe, has worked well for both parties and let me remind you union membership in the Parks has grown significantly during this time.

Regarding the issue of contracting out and private operators in the Park, I do appreciate your concern. It is certainly our desire to provide as much employment to our staff as possible within our means, however there are situations where cost and other considerations such as available equipment make it necessary for NPC to consider other options. As we have discussed in the past and as I know you appreciate, we must be competitive as an organization in order to ensure that we are operating in the most efficient manner possible. As a self-funding agency, the Commission has a duty to consider alternative forms of service delivery to ensure our activities are carried out in the most efficient and effective means possible.
I do look forward to meeting with you to discuss your issues in more detail. Please contact Dave Morris, Director of Human Resources at 905.353.5413 to arrange a suitable meeting time.

Thank you.
Yours truly

John Kernahan

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