Sunday, September 25, 2005

AUGUST 18TH GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING'S MINUTES

August 18, 2005


Meeting come to order, 93 members attending

Reading of OPSEU acceptance of all types and origins of people

Motion: To accept agenda Paul Fish, 2nd by Janet Hepworth; agenda accepted

Minutes from last meeting read; Secretary’s’ report accepted Dan Frigault, 2nd by Sue Longmuir; passed

- Presidents’ Report

Special guest speaker: Leah Casselman, President of OPSEU – 115,000 members strong.

· Meeting with John Kernahan, Jim Williams, Dave Morris, and Kim Craitor.
· Letter written to John Kernahan. Reading of the letter and the response from Upper Management.
· Exclusions grievance, management refused to talk or respond to this issue of any grievances.
· Contracting out, nothing to do with union? Not union business?
· Kim Craitor set up this meeting
· Management violating contract on a daily basis; park wide…
· Complimentary review committee has never had a meeting!!!
· Managers are still doing union jobs!!!
· Giving out park property to franchises!!! Are these franchises being advertised properly or just to personal friends of management?
· Outside Contractors Health and Safety issues covered by individual Department Supervisors or Managers. They are suppose to monitor and check work and qualifications!!!
· Rossi blown glass and students doing janitor work and responsible for money at satellite locations, I’m sure everyone has heard about the theft this year due to lack of supervision and union presence!!!
· Roto Router contracted out; [{this was not mentioned at the meeting}] the NPC are paying an apprentice $30/hr(ridiculous wage for an apprentice); the company pays the person the journeyman’s’ wage and is obviously making profit!!!!
· Maid of the Mist 3 boothes were contracted out? There was suppose to be an agency to oversee tendering in the Parks?
· Ice cream and Hot dogs wholesale prices tripled; new suppliers??? Why?
· Falls Incline and aerocar contracting outside agency, Dopplemyer paying them a obscene amount of money. John Hunt should’ve had an apprentice to train before retiring?
· P/T adult employees only allowed 24 hr work week. Students in some departments receiving 50 hours…
· Lack of picnic tables @ Victoria park and throughout the parkway. Commissioners fault???
· Kingsbridge park still charging locals and visitors to use facilities, this weekends and holidays only.
· John Kernahan denies management received a 7% pay increase. He mentioned he could prove they only received 1% throughout the 27 pay periods. He said he would show his pay records to prove it.
· Kim Craitor is no longer involved with negotiating or hearing of any issue from union or management. He is taking too many complaints and interfering with his other political duties. Basically washed his hands of any further issues. *Just a foot note before the actual meeting Mr. Craitor had a private meeting with Upper Management for an undetermined amount of time and then proceeded to make this statement at the end of the meeting with Bill and Ian.
· Go ahead w/ seasonal JJE company asked employees? Carol Penner asked about pay equity in contract(basis of job description- this is holding up process – in contract)
· Seasonal hand out for JJE descriptions to be held at legion
· Should be done on parks time
· Management will delay the process
· Jim Williams to get JJE descriptions to HR to finish this process[at the time of printing of these minutes the JJE descriptions were being distributed by management]
· John Kott wants a study for these JJE
· Carol Penner would like to have 2 sessions 1) Management, 2) Union
· Barb Wilson against motion, claiming to much work involved
· Amendment passed by Marie Stokes

Motion to pass, Motion accepted…

Leah Casselman Comments:

· Enjoyed the tour of the parkway and our workplace
· Mentioned we have an interesting employer
· She mentioned Jim Bradley was not happy with his appointment to the tourism and recreation department
· Ministry was decimated by the tory party
· Dalton McGuinty will be notified of Kim Craitors position with the parks
· The difference between students, part-time, seasonals and full time employees; Companies are doing these positional wedges to deny and avoid responsibility
· There is too much power from the commission; in control of our lives. Management ‘s choice of who they call back
· NPC looking at contract to extract language from the next negotiation
· Paying people full time now to re-write future contract in October 2006
· The provincial election coming up November 7th, MPP an “idiot”. Polish MPP to go back on his word. This is referring to the statement he made about washing his hands of the parks’ issues
· Keep spotlight on NPC management (they are to blame for all these current issues) not employees
· Respect work place – invest in employees
· OPSEU thanks NPC union members for the jewel the Niagara Parkway is

Randy Aird asking question about arbitration meeting for an April 1/05 grievance?
Leah’s response:

Problems with arbitration board. Law firm same as tories, settle everything. OPSEU has made funding cuts to the grievance board.

Sue Longmuir- policy grievance, same as individual grievance? Yes, grievance settlement board stage. Call OPSEU aand they will tell you the status of the grievance over the phone.

Janet Hepworth asked how far back do grievances go? Janet has one going for 10 years!!!

Steve Burton – How do we keep NPC in the spotlight? Keep the commissioners on their issues. Discuss bargaining amongst employees, get ready for contract negotiations

Tim Watson – contacting Kim Crator’s office? Questions/continue to keep the spotlight on this politician

Anne Cunningham – 24 hour part time not wanted by seasonal employees!!! Union personnel getting less hours. How do we get across to the employer these type of employees are not wanted? First off Leah commented on the lack of union presence at TableRock. The union needs at least 10 stewards at this location, also there are none at Falls Parking Lot. File grievances against these part time employees.

Fernando Fortino – too many unions in this country!!! In comparison to Europe…Ontario Federation of Labour and OPSEU sponsors have an opportunity to go over to London, England. Unison public sector union, a huge Union amalgamated with several unions. The recent news of unions in the U.S. separating from Teamsters. Labour density in the U.S. a freefall.

During the meeting with John Kernahan, Bill Rudd mentioned that John wanted to make this clear before any rumours are started that his neighbour is selling steel ice cream not the frugen haas.

· Chief Stewards Report
Quiet time of year.
OPSEU forms are available for lay offs
Motion to accept report – Janet Hepworth, 2nd by Barb Chernish

$47.00 for the 50/50 draw won by Kevin Tuman, Maintenance Dept

New Business


Old Business


Motion to adjourn, accepted Ian Mather, 2nd by Janet Hepworth. Meeting adjourned…









Chief Stewards Report

·


Old Business.

New Business

Election:

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·


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Motion to adjourn meeting: Passed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

FACT AND FICTION ABOUT UNIONS

FACT and FICTION ABOUT UNIONS
(FROM Organizing Unions by M. Cornish and L Spink)

1. Unions are wrong for the times and they don't make a difference NOT TRUE

• This myth says unions keep investment away and make it difficult for
business to trade or compete. The reality is many businesses suffer
whether they are unionized or not. 4 When the economy in many European countries was thriving a decade
ago - the majority of workers in countries like France, Germany and
Sweden were unionized. 4 Real issue for many businesses is free trade, the value of the Canadian
dollar and unfair trading practices.
• it's a mistake to accept competitiveness as the central measure of our society's worth. Rather, it is more important to think about how unproductive our society is when unemployment is high and people's skills and energies are wasted.
• And unions do make an incredible difference in people's lives:
> Means fairness, not favouritism and management can't make up the
rules as it goes along. > Union protects people from harsh and hasty discipline or dismissal -
with a grievance procedure. > Unions protect workers from lay-offs - they can't guarantee every job if
an employer is cutting back on jobs - but they fight to stop it, prevent
layoffs with early retirement, ensure the collective agreement is applied
evenly and provide, retraining.
2.
Union members have more job protection than non-union employees TRUE

• Unions provide just cause protection
4 Unions fight for better wages
4- Unionized workers have access to more and better benefits-than non­union workers
4 Union members have access to representatives to help them enforce their 1 rights to a healthy, safe, and discrimination-free workplace
4 Union members have access to workplace training, development and union educational programs

3. Union always mean a strike NOT TRUE

* Unions normally negotiate a collective agreement without having to resort to a strike. In some workplaces, the law forbids workers from striking
* The law is very restrictive on when a union can call a strike.
* Unions don't strike in a vacuum - there are two sides - one of which can
be an aggressive and unyielding employer 4 When the crunch comes - it is the union members who decide, usually by
secret ballot vote on whether or not to strike 4 Going on strike is the last resort.

4. Unions hurt productivity NOT TRUE

• Recent academic studies show that productivity is higher in unionized
firms than non-union firms. 4 The central issue on productivity is how the employer handles conflict -
not whether or not a workplace is organized. 4 An agreement a union makes with an employer about work rules can
mean a more stable work process because conflicts are worked through
bargaining and a collective agreement. 4 Unions can aid overall efficiency because of a lower employee turnover.
5. Unions are rigid. They don't like change NOT TRUE

• Usually the media only reports on problems and inflexibility in the news.
• Having a union gives employees more power and resources to respond creatively to issues in the workplace. Employees are more likely to co­operate in changes when a dear process is set out and they feel protected.
• Unions have led the way for change - WSIB, Employment Standards and Minimum Wage, Old Age Pensions, Unemployment Insurance and laws on Human Rights,

6.Big union bosses only want your money NOT TRUE

This is a myth on many counts -
* Unions aren't big, unions aren't run by bosses, and unions aren't in it for
the money + Unions are democratic organizations - they aren't controlled by union
bosses but rather elected officials who must work with an elected board -
in OPSEU the board is elected every two years.
• Dues pay for services - both centrally and with the local. Any union member may ask for and get an audited financial statement from the union.
+ Compared to businesses, unions have relatively little wealth. The head offices of all 494 unions in Canada including bank accounts, investments, strike funds are worth $1.1 billion dollars. Everyone of the first 147 top corporations in Canada has more assets than that. MacLean Hunter -which publishes McLean's magazine - alone controls more than that. The 1996 revenue of Molsons was twice that amount. Salary and bonuses for many CEO's are in the millions.
KEY ADVANTAGES TO BEING A MEMBER OF A UNION (to list just a few):

1. Negotiated pay and working conditions
2. A legally binding contract
3. Option to use Third Party Arbitration to resolve disputes
4. Job security and job protection
5. Collective strength - wages are taken out of competition with more
unions in the sector.
6. Pay and Equal pay
7. Social and political activities
8. Fun

Monday, September 19, 2005

ON LINE REGISTRATION FOR EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE


You will only be able to register for EI benefits on line from now on. The Federal Government has stopped producing paper applications to collect EI
Their will not be any registration at Dunn Street. You will have to do it yourself or go to the EI office in your area for assistance.

Employment Insurance now offers you a new personalized Internet service called:

This new service allows you to:

View your current claim information including, payment and deduction details

View and update your personal information including your mailing address, phone number and banking information for direct deposit

View your previous claims for El benefits

Access an easy to use help function and frequently asked questions

Link to our other on-line services including the Application for Employment Insurance Benefits on the Internet, the Internet Reporting Service and Job Bank

To use go to:
www.canada.gc.ca

Choose "On-line Forms and on-line Forms
Services" and Services



On-line Services


Click on the "Employment Insurance (El) On-line Services" icon

Choose "My El Information on-line" option and follow the instructions



Canada

Sunday, September 11, 2005

PAY HIKES IN STORE FOR ALL

PAY HIKES IN STORE FOR ALL: SURVEY

Globe and Mail

Sept 7, 2005

BY WALLACE IMMEN

The price of gas may have you down but cheer up: there win be more money in your pay-cheque next year to help cover a higher fuel bill.

Buoyed by a stronger domestic economy, Canadian employers re­port they are projecting average sal­ary Increases of 3.4 per cent next year, up from an average of 3.2 per cent this year, according to prelimi­nary results from Mercer Human Resource Consulting's 2006 comp­ensation planning survey.

"All this is good news for Cana­dian employees," says Marc Chartrand, a principal in Mercer's Mon­treal office.

"We are seeing optimism not only about salaries but positive growth in all regions and indus­tries."

Employers expect pay increases to average about 3.6 per cent for ex­ecutives, while the average for cleri­cal and hourly staff Is expected to be 3.3 per cent. Only 7 per cent of employers were considering a sala­ry freeze.

The results are based on data from 384 organizations represent­ing approximately 1.6 million unionized and non-unionized em­ployees in Canada.

The employers said, however, that the salary increases may come with more strings attached.

According to the preliminary re­sults, 47.5 per cent of respondents said they already tie compensation to performance and a further 16.8 per cent said they are considering shifting to performance-based sal­ary increases in 2006.

And companies are broadening their offerings of non-monetary awards. Rewards such as extra va­cation time, travel incentives, prizes for being the top performer are already in use by 67 per cent of employers, and another 10.7 per cent have that in their plans for next year. The rest do not have incen­tives and are hot considering them, the survey found.

The top salary increases are ex­pected to be in the oil and gas sec­tor, with an Average overall hike of 4.6 per cent, the survey found. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector are next, with projected in­creases of about 3.7 per cent. Natu­ral resources companies and orga­nizations in the public sector are also expecting above-average raises at about 3.5 per cent. There Is! no economic sector in which employers expect an In­crease of less than 3 per cent. And pay hikes will also be rela­tively consistent across the country, the survey found. Employees in Al­berta and British Columbia can ex­pect to see the highest increases at an average of 3.5 per cent. Increases, 3.4 per cent are forecast for Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In Ontario, Quebec arid the Maritimes, forecast increases will be about 3.3 per cent. However, Mr. Chartrand cautions that the survey was conducted in the summer, before the effects of Hurricane Katrina caused oil prices to spike. "We will have to wait and see whether this has a negative im­pact on the economy," he says.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

NO NEW YEAR'S EVE SHOW FOR 2006

Lots to lose by cancelling New Year's Eve shows

It's always hard to see holiday traditions fade, but Niagara Falls is losing a whopper if the New Year's Eve concert in Queen Victoria Park is cancelled this year.

This show has traditionally drawn a wide television audience, not to mention the more than 20,000 peo­ple who have made the trek to the park annually since the concerts first began more than 10 years ago.

Festival general manager Dino Fazio said he has $250,000 less to work with this year, and the enter­tainment end of the festival will suffer because of that.

Last year, headliner Collective Soul cost $100,000. Fazio said these groups charge a premium because it's the one night of the year they can name their price.

It appears some major sponsors have pulled back because the city is already 'booked solid' New Year's Eve, The theory goes, the entertainment isn't needed because the visitors are already here.

Why not give them, along with the locals, some­thing more to see?

The Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort has been able to secure talent, but even with two shows at the Avalon Theatre, just a little more than 3,000 people at best could see the entertainment.

Other places have been able to come up with free outdoor concerts to ring in the new year. Our Ameri­can neighbours in Buffalo - and it's no secret their governments are cash-strapped - can afford to put on a first night concert.

Aid. Jim Diodati has noted that cancelling the annual New Year's Eve concert is short-sighted, given the publicity Niagara Falls as a tourism destination receives with the broadcast of its festivities.

He's correct. This is a signature event on a national scale. Would anyone dare imagine the New Year's Eve celebration in New York City being cancelled over lack of money? It wouldn't happen.

Through the concert telecasts, once a year people from around Canada see that Niagara Falls is the place to be. How many other cities that aspire to be 'destina­tions' can claim that?

When CNN in the United States shows clips from New Year's Eve celebrations from around the world, they inevitably show London, Paris, New York, Sydney ... and Niagara Falls.

The powers that be had better think long and hard before they surrender that status.

If the Niagara Falls New Year's Eve celebration is allowed to fade into oblivion, more people will tune into the New York celebration. Organizers here would be doing New York tourism a favour.

It has been a disturbing year in terms of cancelling events that thousands of local residents have come to enjoy and plan on.

Earlier this year it was the Blossom Festival Parade, now this. What's next? Canada Day?


Leah Speaks to members or our local at our August 18th general membership meeting