Your bargaining committee met with the VON for two days of bargaining on October 23rd and 24th. Originally, five days of bargaining were scheduled, but additional time was unnecessary because the parties could not reach agreement on any issues. Although talks were generally cordial, the bargaining process was unproductive, largely because the employer did not have an offer to make on wages, hours of work, or improvements to travel, overtime, amount of vacation, and other key provisions of the collective agreement.
The bargaining committee has decided to apply to the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education to request the assistance of a Conciliation Officer. According to the Trade Union Act, either a union or an employer can apply for conciliation when bargaining reaches an impasse. Although a Conciliation Officer cannot compel the union and the employer to reach a collective agreement, the process is a good mechanism for the parties to bargain more effectively. If conciliation is successful, a tentative agreement will be presented to the union members. If conciliation fails, the Conciliation Officer files a report with the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, which triggers a fourteen-day countdown or cooling off period, after which a union may go on strike or an employer may lock the members out.
At this point, your bargaining committee remains optimistic that a new collective agreement may be achieved at conciliation. We will keep you updated with further developments. If you have any questions, please contact a member of your bargaining committee as follows:
Tammy Frail, Local 31 email@example.com
Heather Matthews, Local 35 firstname.lastname@example.org
Elayne Weddleton-Bradley, Local 40 email@example.com
Nicole Quinn, Local 85 firstname.lastname@example.org
Robin MacLean, Chief Negotiator email@example.com
Corry MacKinnon, ERO firstname.lastname@example.org