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North East EMS – Forced Vote Information

HSAS Members have spoken!

The North East EMS Employer’s last contract proposal is unacceptable.

Forced Vote Results - August 6, 2019

The results of the forced vote ballot count are in. Of the 28 ballots sent to the members of HSAS by the Labour Relations Board (LRB) – 19 ballots were returned. The final outcome of the vote is based on the ballots returned within the time frame specified by the LRB (in the postal system on or before July 25, 2019) and that are cast either in favour of accepting the North East EMS Employer’s last contract proposal or in favour of rejecting the last contract proposal. 4 of the 19 ballots were returned outside the time frame specified by the LRB. The final count was based on 15 returned ballots.
 
Of the ballots counted:
     
11 Voted ‘NO’- rejecting the Employer’s last contract proposal
4  Voted ‘YES’- accepting the Employer’s last contract proposal
 
HSAS members have spoken. The North East EMS Employer’s last contract proposal is unacceptable.  
 
Next step:

HSAS Labour Relations will be contacting your Employer to request future bargaining dates.  

What does a ‘Forced’ Vote mean?

  • It is just what it says. The Employer is not willing to continue bargaining with your Bargaining Committee – your Employer wants to limit improvements to your next collective agreement.
  • The Employer asks for the vote counting on the possibility that members will not support their Bargaining Committee and instead will agree to accept less in the bargaining process.
  • The Saskatchewan Employment Act allows for employers to ask the Labour Relations Board to administer and carry out a vote.  This is what your Employer has done.  The Employer wants NEEMS members to vote on the Employer’s April 26, 2019 offer.
  • The Labour Relations Board will conduct a mail in ballot process.  You will receive a ballot where you will indicate whether you accept or reject the Employer’s offer of April 26, 2019.
  • Note: In 2015, SAHO- negotiating on behalf of all the health regions asked the Labour Relations Board for a ‘Forced Vote’ on an offer they had made to over 3600 of our members. The Negotiating Committee had found the offer to be unacceptable and had refused to take it to the members.  A mail in ballot process was conducted and over 80% voted against SAHO’s offer.  The Negotiating Committee was then able to negotiate an improved offer for the members- one which they accepted in a vote conducted by HSAS – as it should be.

Background

  • March 31, 2017- Your current collective agreement expired.
  • June 2018- the HSAS Bargaining Committee (which included an HSAS Labour Relations Officer and your appointed co-workers) met with your Employer to begin negotiations for a new collective agreement.
  • March 19, 2019- the Employer met with and provided the HSAS Bargaining Committee with an offer which contained a number of proposed changes to your current collective agreement. Your Bargaining Committee rejected that offer. (To this point the HSAS Bargaining Committee and your Employer had only met 5 times).
  • Following rejection of the offer, the Employer indicated that additional bargaining dates would be offered to continue the bargaining process.
  • April 3, 2019- the Employer provided a revised offer to your Bargaining Committee (by fax- not in person) but did not provide any possible additional meeting dates.
  • April 11, 2019- the Employer filed an application with the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board asking the Board to carry out a vote of the NEEMS HSAS members based on the Employer’s March 19, 2019 offer (the one which your Bargaining Committee had already rejected and the Employer had revised).  This type of vote is a calculated attempt by an Employer to bypass the bargaining process.  We refer to this type of vote as a ‘Forced Vote’.
  • Shortly after this, for unknown reasons, the Employer chose to withdraw their application requesting the ‘forced’ vote.
  • April 26, 2019 – the Employer provided another offer (which the Employer refers to as a Last Offer) to your Bargaining Committee- again this offer was not provided in person.
  • On June 21, 2019, the Employer filed another application with the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board requesting that the Board conduct a vote of the NEEMS HSAS members- this time based on the Employer’s Last Offer of April 26, 2019. Once again, the Employer is attempting to bypass the bargaining process with a Forced Vote.

Why Should NEEMS HSAS Members Reject the Employer’s Offer of April 26, 2019?

While there have been some improvements negotiated along the process over the past 12 months, the Employer’s offer of April 26, 2019 has several significant and negative changes proposed.  These include but are not limited to:

Employer’s Proposal: 

Article 12.03(c) – No overtime after 40 hours of work in a week

Impact:
If the Employer’s offer is accepted, Members would no longer be paid overtime if they worked over 40 hours in a week.  Instead, the hours of work would be averaged over four weeks. Potentially, a member could work a week which significantly exceeded 40 hours, but would not receive any overtime for those additional hours.


Article 12.05(g) – Language would now read “scheduling of work for casual Employees will be done on an equitable rotation basis, subject to each Employee’s consistent availability.  Supervisors will be called whenever required by the Employer, regardless of their placement in the rotation

Impact:
If the Employer’s offer is accepted, the Employer would have the ability to replace an HSAS Member with a Manager at any time and for any reason.  This language also does not provide any definition for what ‘consistent availability’ means and gives the Employer excessive discretion when calling in staff. 


Article 16.06 – Education Leave

Impact:
Although this may give the illusion of a positive, there are several significant negatives.

  • The Employer is not ‘required‘ to provide educational programs- they ‘may’ provide it. This is not a certainty and even if provided, Members will not be paid to attend. 
  • No payment will be provided for education providing CME credits.
  • Education leave would not be considered ‘work’ time and therefore, not considered in the calculation of possible overtime.
  • Time spent on Education leave would not be eligible to be included in the calculation of seniority hours. 

Click here to read all of the Employer’s Proposals and HSAS comments.

Major Grievances at Risk

Note: HSAS also has two grievances filed against the Employer.  If the Employer’s offer is accepted in the ‘Forced’ Vote, the Market Supplement grievance could be jeopardized because the Market Supplement came into effect prior to the signing of any new NEEMS agreement and the Cumberland House Grievance would be considered settled.  HSAS would not be able to proceed with them.  The description and significance of each grievance is as follows:

Grievance 1

Employer’s Failure to Recognize an increase to EMS wages as set out in the SAHO/HSAS Collective Agreement which came into effect as a result of the Market Supplement Program and has not applied this increase to the wages for HSAS Members working in NEEMS.

Through the SAHO/HSAS Market Supplement program, EMTs, EMT Coordinators, EMT-As, and EMT-A Coordinators received a 3.43% increase to their wages, retroactively to 2014.  HSAS has filed the above grievance because HSAS maintains that the NEEMS Employer must follow the NEEMS Collective Agreement and provide our NEEMS members with the same increase received by HSAS members under the SAHO agreement. See the current SAHO/HSAS wage schedule below.

Click here to view the Current SAHO/HSAS Wage Schedule.

*In order for this grievance to continue through the process to resolution, NEEMS Members must reject the Employer’s offer in the Forced Vote.

 


Grievance 2

The Employer has refused to apply the Collective Agreement when it assigns duties to HSAS Members to work in Cumberland House, Saskatchewan.

For several years, the Employer has attempted to have HSAS sign off on a Letter of Understanding (LOU) which would impact Members working in Cumberland House. HSAS has refused and has remained adamant that Members working in Cumberland House should be entitled to the same provisions, not lesser provisions than the rest of the NEEMS membership.

The Employer has included a Cumberland House LOU in the Forced Vote offer and is once again attempting to create different provisions for those working in Cumberland House. 

Example: The Collective Agreement states than any hours worked after 8 hours would be paid at overtime rates.  The Employer’s proposed LOU would see Cumberland House ACPs only receive overtime pay after working 12 hours not 8. 

HSAS Bargaining Proposals at Risk

If the Forced Vote is not rejected by NEEMS members, none of the HSAS bargaining proposals below can be addressed in this contract.  The Forced Vote must be rejected by members to allow bargaining to continue.

HSAS Proposals:

  • That all travel time be paid by the Employer at regular or overtime wages, whichever would be applicable.  HSAS believes that when our Members are travelling to locations such as Cumberland House, they are doing so as part of their employment with NEEMS and should be paid appropriately
  • Overtime – Time and a Half for the first three hours and thereafter, double time.  This is a benefit that all HSAS Members have who work for the Health Authority.  This is as well how LaRonge EMS pays its Employee who are represented by HSAS. We see no reason that Members working for NEEMS should not have this benefit as well
  • Shift Trades – HSAS has tabled language that would make it simpler and easier for our Members to do shift trades.
  • $5.00 per hour Standby Rate
  • Payment to Members who are designated to take phone calls or make phone calls for the Employer to be paid one half hour at their regular wage rate, per call.
  • Family Responsibility Leave – This would allow Employees who need to take care of a Family Member such as an ageing parent or an ill child to take a time off with pay to attend to their Family Member. This would have a limit of five days.
  • Medical Leave – This would allow an Employee to take time off work to see a Doctor or other Medical Care Giver during work time if they cannot arrange an appointment on their own time- to a maximum of sixteen hours per year.
  • Boots to be paid for by the Employer –  An Employee would simply have to bring in a receipt for new boots that they have purchased and demonstrate that their old one where worn out.  Employees would be able to pick the boot that suited them best and would not have to stay under any arbitrary limit for the purchase.
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