Friday, November 03, 2006


General membership meeting Thursday November 16th at 7PM
Legion 479
Spring Street
Niagara Falls.

Stand up for your rights

A better workplace starts with YOU!

At this time, your team is in the process of negotiating a new collective agreement. Remember the process doesnt end with ratification. It is up to every member to police the agreement. You must read your copy of the collective agreement. You must know what your rights are, and when they are being violated. If you think something is wrong, but you arent sure, call a steward.

You can't assume that your manager or supervisor will automatically follow the rules set out in the agreement. Some dont feel the need to follow it, and some dont even know what the collective agreement says. If you are affected by a violation of the collective agreement, you need to bring it to the attention of your manager or supervisor. Make it clear that this is a complaint and you are willing to file a grievance if necessary.

Standing up for your rights doesn't make you a bad em­ployee. Standing up for your rights will not endanger your job. Violating your rights is a mistake made by your manager. Continu­ing to violate your rights after it has been brought to their atten­tion makes them a bad manager. If you are having a problem, please speak to a steward, but your responsibility doesnt stop there. Even a member ofyour executive cant solve a problem without your continued involve­ment. Every member must be prepared to stand up and ques­tion improper decisions. It's your rights being violated, and its your responsibility to question the violation. Further, if a brother or sister is fighting a violation in your work location, you must back them up. Remember, the rights of one member are your rights too. Keep the big picture in view and support your fellow union mem­ber. Never support thesuppression of your rights. These rights have been negotiated for you over the course of many years. Dont throw them away because of apathy or conven­ience

Therefore, when your new collective agreement is ratified, dont be complacent. Remember that for this document to continue to be relevant, we must ensure that it is being followed by man­agement and the union. Both sides sign the agreement and both sides must honour its provisions.

In solidarity

Barb Wilson

From the secretary's desk

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my Union Brothers and Sisters for making me feel welcome and appreciated in my new position as Union Secretary.

I have spent the last two years as a steward and started attending membership meetings, OPSEU educationals and investing personal time reading our contract. There is so much to learn, but I find it very rewarding as I believe that knowledge is a powerful tool!

With our team presently in negotiations, I am hoping that you as Union members will become more involved and be more aware of your rights according to the contract. Our general membership meetings are a great way to meet members from other areas and to get answers to all your questions and set the record straight on the many rumours we know circulate throughout the Parks.

Please don't hesitate to ask your stewards for asistance when needed. I am looking forward to getting to know each of you.

In solidarity

Jenn Sanderson

The Budget for 2006-2007

Budget breakdown 05-06 proposed 05-06 Actual 06-07 Proposed


Item or description

Income: Rebates



$17,000.00 @


Meetings: GMM, Exec & Stewards


$2,226.75 @






Alternate costs (Convention)




Bank Charges








Office supplies and printing




E-mail/ internet


$720.00 Q>


Other meetings


$105.5 1(§>


Executive expenses


$7,500.00 (£)


Sponsorships: Wreath


$0.00 (T)


Misc (CALM & Info membership)




Total Expenses




Balance Remaining


($3,779.81) @


Key to budget notations

1. Rebate amount lower due to timing of deposit of rebate cheque.

2. 5 General Membership, 6 Executive, 4 Steward

3. Increases in printing cost, 3 Newsletters

4. Only a portion of internet covered. Max of $15/monthover 12 months ($180per executive)

5. Constitutional Committee Human rights and JJE meetings

6. Lower due to reduced number of executive members

7. Was not contacted by Legion this year.

8. Did not join Labour council, Expect to next year, left monies in.

9. Defecit not truly reflective of totals because of timing of rebate deposit.

10. Left lower to reflect on lower numbers in bargaining unit.

11. Left amount at $ 1500 because there are no regionals in 2006.

12. Bank balance as of July 1,2005: $6091.53, with $725.04 in outstanding cheques

This budget was presented and voted on at the last General Membership meeting.


Negotiating Team: Colin MacKenzie, Shelley Reed, Gary Bird, Barb Wilson, Desiree Constantinides and Staff Rep Russ Ellerton

Human Rights Committee:! lan Mather, Fernando Fortino, Maureen Ellis and Barb Wilson

Constitution Committee: lan Mather, Colin MacKenzie, Barb Wilson, Anne Cunningham, Bill Burns and Dennis

Seasonal JJE: Barb Wilson, Veronica Fawcett, Robin Watson. (Alternate: Penny Berketa) Full time JJE Maintenance: Marie Stokes, Platch lammarino (Alternate: Bill Rudd)

White Elephants, the blues and working together

Well, somebody in Upper Management should be getting a promotion. A circus that wasnt drawing the crowds it expected, a French-fry truck that has had a very hard time breaking even, spending as many hours in the garage is it did in use, and a Totem Pole Park at the glen that can be added to the white el­ephant list that just keeps growing

The Parks is again crying the blues. Now the question is: has it truly been a bad year or is it just that we haven't been meeting or surpassing the huge proj ected profits?

A few years ago, (if I remember correctly it was during our last contract negotiations), Barb Amdt our former Human Resources Director said that "students are the back-bone of the Parks" Some incidents this year seem to back up this statement. Some of our sisters and brothers at the Distribution center had their days, shifts and hours cut because the stock wasn't moving. Now here is the kicker... The Parks found it necessary to cut bargaining unit members back, but didn't seem to have a problem finding work at other locations for the students who were working at the Distribution Center at the time. The student didnt lose any time. Our bargaining unit members weren't as lucky. According to management, the workers were not allowed to move to other locations because they hadn't been laid off and thus could not exercise their seniority

It seems like a no brainer to me, but if hours are reduced it should be the non-bargaining unit employ­ees that go first; and if there are hours available, they should go to the union workers to top up their normal hours. The Director and Managers of Human Resources are always on the Union to "work together1 to solve our problems. The treatment of our members at the distribution center indicate that maintaining profit margins is more important than maintaining good employee relations. It is hard to work together when the workers are constantly looking over their shoulders for the knife thrust to the back.

I wonder if the powers that be will ever realize that it is all of the full time and seasonal workers, whose conscientious efforts that keep mis ship afloat

In solidarity

lan Mother

The Big Question... and other updates

How are negotiations going? That's the big question lately. Well, you know as much as I do. What I do know is that our negotiating team will do their best. I am hoping that they will be able to give us a positive report at our next General Membership meeting, November 17th.

I have been harping at all of you to make sure that you are signed up members and have got a union card and number. You need a membership number to vote on our next contract, or if negotiations break down, to collect strike pay and benefits from OPSEU.

During our demand set meeting I got a strong message from those members present that, as well as a substantial wage increase, our members wanted better job security. We need better language to control contracting out and the new proliferation of 24-hour workers. These non­union workers are not only taking away members hours of work, they are unable to sustain much of a standard of living at such a limited income and are not protected by a collective agreement. It is important mat you ensure that you get your full allotment of hours of work in your classification before any hours are given to non-union employees

I'm sure that if we haven't already started hearing about it, we soon will. You know... how this was such a bad year that there is no money to cover any wage increases. This may well be true, we may never know, because we can't see the books. In the past 'golden age' of record profits, I dont recall any bonuses or better increases because we had such a banner year. The workers in the Niagara Parks keep pur standards the same, wether there are 4 million visitors or 14 million. We serve the public to the best of our ability. The Com­mission is not taking any suggestions from us, in fact it seems that they don't want us to know any of their plans for the future...until the day before the public announcement. Can you say Gondola... Why should we pay for their mistakes with our standard of living.

I would like everyone to take note that our local MPP Kim Craitor has reintroduced a bill in parlia­ment that would force boards and Commissions (like the Parks) to open their meetings to the public. At one time I had criticized Kim for what I felt was a lack of support for our concerns. I applaud Kim's bill and feel that it shows that Kim truly does hear our concerns and is trying to act on them.

The Parks may like to think they are a business that should be able to keep the general public in the dark, but they are not Sears or one of the auto-makers who answer to a limited number of shareholders. The Park is a governmenmt agency and therefore owned by the people of Ontario. We are all shareholders in our workplace

I recently had the opportunity to support the Unite-Here Union that represents our servers at a demonstration there were having on one of their member workplaces. (Canadian Niagara Hotels) It is important that we all try and show our solidarity with other Unions when they are in need. Some day we may need their support. Our Local is taking steps to join the Niagara District Labour Council and we plan on being active members. Joining this group will provide us with the knowledge, experience and re­sources that we may need in the near future.

See you in November.

In Solidarity


Attention all seasonals!

The following is a brief primer on your rights for transfers and extra work under the collective ageement.

One of the most frequent complaints that I hear is that some­one got a job that wasn't posted. Most of the time, the answer is that the job was seasonal. Under the contract, only full-time positions must be posted. In order to be considered for a seasonal position, you must apply to Human Re­sources for a transfer. The steps to apply for a transfer are ex­plained in Articles 41.02 and 41.03 in the collective agreement This application must be made before

December 31 st to be considered for the next season. If you do apply for a transfer please let someone on our local executive know so that we can check the transfer list and ensure the Park is complying with the contract

If you are interested in extra work, the process is as follows:

When you receive your lay­off notice, you have 48 hours to notify your director (or designate) that you wish to exercise your seniority (Article30.06). If you want to be considered for early recall in your department or extra work, then you must notify Human Resources in writing within 48 hours

of receiving your lay-off notice (Article 30.1 Oa). If you want to be considered for extra work outside of your depart­ment, the process is the same (Article 30.10d).

The paper with the boxes to check off which some of us are pre­sented with at the time of our lay-off notice will work for exercising your seniority. To be eligible for extra work however you must take the additional step of notifying Human Resource in writing. Remember to keep a copy of your application. Sometimes things get lost...

You have a contract...enforce it!

In solidarity

Barb Wilson


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