Dear Local 78B members,
Following up on my last communication regarding the Halifax Regional Centre for Education’s (HRCE) plan to revoke your employer’s contract to provide busing services, I committed to provide more information when it came forward and to let you know when the Request for Proposals (RFP) for Student Transportation Services was issued. We were told by Executive Director, LeRoux and Director of Operations Services, Jacob Ritchie, that it was HRCE’s intent to have Local 78B’s collective agreement in their RFP. Our major issue has been to ensure your collective agreement would remain in place regardless of who the successful bidder(s) may be.
We are pleased to see a provision in the RFP on union consideration. They acknowledge that the services are currently being provided within a unionized environment and they ask that proponents become familiar with your collective agreement and prepare their cost structures based upon labour costs that reflect all aspects of your collective agreement. As well, proponents are reminded that they need to consider costs in expectation of new agreements. This appears to be good news.
However, we have further questions for the HRCE because it isn’t clear is how current Stock employees would obtain employment with the new operator(s). I have written to the HRCE seeking clarification on this issue and hope to have further meetings with them in the near future. As you all know, there are many issues regarding recruitment and retention and this is verified in the RFP documents where there are several references to recruitment and retention issues for drivers and monitors. Our worry is that the uncertainty on how you move from one employer to another could lead some current employees to leave thereby making recruitment and retention issues worse.
I have reached out to the HRCE asking them to review the issues identified above and provide us with any information relating to your job security past Spring 2020.
As always, I commit to reaching out again as soon I have any further information to share.