ASMPP causing concerns
The past twelve months have been
tumultuous to say the least. Your dedication to your chosen profession has
been tested and challenged in many ways, yet you have still maintained the
highest standards that could be expected of anyone.
In our conversations with Correctional
Officers and Youth Services Officers, you have told both of your MERC Chairs
that one of the most significant stresses you are facing is the employer’s
introduction of the Attendance Support Management Pilot Program (ASMPP). We
once again emphasize that this was an employer program that was
imposed upon the Corrections Division. We refer you back to the COR13 letter
from David Logan (March 12, 2009) identifying that the parties agreed to
explore programs to improve health, wellness and productivity to improve
attendance and address accommodation matters. OPSEU did not at any time
agree to this imposed employer program. In fact, once it came into
existence, the union filed a policy grievance to challenge the employer’s
On September 8, 2009, MERC team
representatives as well as OPSEU staff were involved in a thorough Stage Two
meeting with senior staff, at which the union detailed your concerns. These
concerns were dismissed by the Ministry and dates were set for formal
arbitration. At that point, the first date set for arbitration was February
Those of you who have been involved with
the regular arbitration process know that nothing moves quickly in
arbitration. For example, members who have been involved with the
second-hand smoke grievance process are aware that the employer raised
thirteen preliminary objections. Two years into the litigation process we
appear to be half-way through the employer’s preliminary issues and have not
started on the merits of the case. That said, there was a potential that the
ASMPP program may have concluded at the end of the current Collective
Agreement without a final Award from the Board. As well, many of our members
would have the potential stress of being in a Level 4 placement or worse,
removed from employment through no fault of their own, and then having to
file their own subsequent grievance and begin the arbitration process.
Towards the end of January, your MERC
chairs had discussions with senior management to have another look at the
ASMPP issues. This was in recognition of the stress, the problems with the
program, and the need for either agreed-to changes or adjudication of the
program. An agreement was struck to utilize Vice-Chair Brian Keller (an
adjudicator with more than forty years of mediation-arbitration experience)
to assist the parties. If no consensus was achieved, he was charged with
issuing a “bottom-line” decision.
The union’s primary thrust involved five
Absences related to a disability and/or a
Artificially and unreasonably low thresholds
Lack of individual consideration for
Absences related to public health outbreaks
Health and safety impacts on individual
bargaining unit members
This resulted in a session with the
employer that went into the early hours of the morning with numerous
attempts to achieve an agreement. Ultimately, the matter was referred to
Vice-Chair Keller to issue a binding award. Download the Decision at:
What did the union achieve?
In the decision, the employer:
shall exercise reasonable discretion with
non-culpable absenteeism (innocent, or
absenteeism that is not within the
workers' control) on an individual basis as an
employee p through the various levels of the ASMPP.
shall preclude the consideration of absences that
flow from a disability as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code.
shall not consider WSIB absences in making any
determination at Level 4 of the ASMPP.
shall consider whether to suspend the ASMPP in
the event the World Health Organization or the Ontario Chief Medical Officer
of Health declares a pandemic.
shall negotiate a dispute resolution process to
deal with grievances arising out of the ASMPP.
What didn’t the union achieve?
The union was unable to move the ASMPP’s
thresholds higher. We were unsuccessful in arguing that the thresholds
utilized under the ASMPP are inadequate to address the conditions our
Correctional Officers and Youth Services Officers are required to work in.
Where do we go from here?
In accordance with COR13, the employer
and the union are continuing to have discussions in regards to the Joint
Attendance Strategy and Implementation Committee. The next meeting is
scheduled for February 23, 2010.
ASMPP and Absenteeism Target Incentives
There is some confusion over the
different aspects of the Attendance Support Management Pilot Program (ASMPP)
(COR13, Page 478, blue book) and the Absenteeism Target Incentives (COR7,
Page 469, blue book). These are two separate and distinct issues.
The employer imposed the ASMPP (replacing
the Attendance Support Program). This applies to all staff within the
Correctional Bargaining Unit, working in the Ministry of Children and Youth
Services and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
The Absenteeism Target Incentives were
specific to Regular (classified) Correctional Officers and Youth Services
Officers (COR15). The incentives are payable only to Regular (classified)
COs and YSOs. If the targets had not been met, no percentages would have
been paid and further there would have been an impact to how overtime is
paid (COR 8.2.3A and COR 16.1.1A). This was a negotiated item specific to
Correctional Officers and Youth Services Officers under the Collective
Agreement. This type of classification payment difference or enhancement is
not new to the collective agreement; many classifications have seen specific
language attached to their classification.
Absences involving Fixed-Term Employees
(unclassified) or any other employee who works in the institutions were not
included in the calculation. These staff are not covered by the lump sum
The calculation will be based on two per
cent of the employee’s straight-time hourly rate as of December 2009, for
the period from March 12, 2009 through to December 31, 2009. Overtime hours
worked between March 12 and December 31, 2009 will be included in the
incentive payment calculation as straight time. According to the employer,
the target date for pay-out will be May 13, 2010.
It is the employer’s position that the
incentive monies will NOT be paid out on paid leaves of absences. OPSEU will
challenge this decision.
OPSEU and the employer are currently in
discussions in regards to the numerous questions that have been raised. A
Q&A will be issued shortly.
OPT introduces a new member buy-back
Effective February 1, 2010, OPSEU and the
Government sponsor have agreed that the OPT will permit plan members who
have missed the normal 24 month buyback application window to purchase past
credit at the actuarial cost. Up to now, if a plan member did not apply
within 24 months of joining the OPT or returning from a leave, they were not
permitted to buy back service outside the 24 month window.
The amendment will allow eligible OPSEU
members (and PSPP members) to buy back pension credit outside of the 24
month buyback window, but the cost to the members who apply outside their 24
month window will be determined on an actuarial basis. This means that the
member will pay for the full cost of the buyback based on an actuarial
calculation. Online estimates will be available on the OPT website on
February 1, 2010 so that members may make informed decisions.
While this amendment will help members
who have missed the 24 month deadline for whatever reason, members should
still apply within the 24 months if possible. For some buybacks (prior
service with an employer who contributes to the OPT, and unpaid LOAs for
pregnancy, parental, illness, for example) the employer matches the member’s
One issue still being sorted out is
whether the actuarial cost will have to be paid by lump sum or whether
periodic payments will be permitted. You can download the OPT Fact Sheet at
Original authorized for distribution by Warren (Smokey)
Thomas, president and Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, MCSCS MERC Chair.
Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 100 Lesmill Road,
Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8P8
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